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Brainstorm research topics with Desktop Graffiti

November 15, 2011

Brainstorm research topics with Desktop Graffiti
Sample Desktop Graffiti - Students collect pictures and words to choose topics

Ramp-up the fun factor when students are topic-brainstorming for their next research paper, persuasive writing, or argumentative piece. Students can compile possible topics using Desktop Graffiti.

Make paper tablecloths by placing butcher-block/bulletin board paper overtop clusters of student desks. Small groups look through magazines and cut out words, headlines, and photos that are on controversial, political, and social topics appropriate for the expository assignment.

Here are some tips to make the activity more efficient:

  • Provide a wide assortment of magazines—news, sports, teen, family, animals, hunting, etc. And have enough magazines so that all students can be looking for potential topics.
  • Have enough magazines/newspapers so you have a second batch of materials you can pull out after the first several classes. The resources will be pretty picked over by then.
  • You’ll need LOTS of tape, glue sticks, and scissors! With enough of each, all students can be looking, cutting, and taping/gluing.
  • Make a mini-graffiti poster as an example to better explain the task.
  • Mark the TOP and BOTTOM of each chart paper so that when students adhere items, they understand how the paper will hang. It’s hard to read it if it’s written or taped upside down on butcher paper.
  • Plan where you are going to hang the graffiti papers. They will require some space in your classroom environment.
  • Start the Desktop Graffiti posters in first period and allow each class period to add to what the previous periods started. At the end of the day, you’ll have a handful of colorful collages full of expository possibilities. Students will love this active brainstorming strategy!
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