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As a follow-on to brainstorming, this method focuses on making connections between initial solutions generated during brainstorming to produce even more solutions.
After brainstorming a range of many solutions, look for commonalities among solutions, or a higher-order category that encompasses a set of solutions, in order to provide structure for continued solution generation. Once you have identified this more abstract category that many of your solutions fall into, you and your students can ask yourselves "What additional solutions we have not yet thought of might also fall into this category?"
Problem: A student has received a notice from their landlord that they will need to come up with $500 to pay for damages in their apartment that were noticed during a surprise visit by the landlord. The landlord has stated the student has one month to pay the bill.
From: Butler, D.L., & Kline, M.A. (1998). Good versus creative solutions: A comparison of brainstorming, hierarchical, and perspective-changing heuristics. Creativity Research Journal, 11(4), 325-331.
We all want students to carry our teachings into their lives. Often, however, we must make our intentions very plain for students to understand that an assignment will equip them with skills and empower them, and is not an arbitrary hoop through which they must jump.
For this reason, frame each activity using these four steps:
Among the most useful things we as teachers can do during class discussion is shut our mouths. In an oft-cited meta-analysis of wait-time research, Tobin (1987) described findings of greater engagement and achievement when teachers waited at least three to five seconds after asking a discussion question before speaking again. Above this threshold, higher level thinking was observed and student academic performance improved. However, teachers behaving "normally" only tend to wait about one second. Students need a few moments to digest what they have recently heard, formulate their responses, and work up the courage to speak. Slow down, and more of your students will keep up with you.
Reference: Tobin, K. (1987). The role of wait time in higher cognitive level learning. Review of Educational Research, 57, 1: 69-95.