Brainstorming, if done properly, is great fun. It is also a valuable means of developing children's ability to think, as well as an excellent citizenship activity, as they learn to respect other people's ideas and work. Best of all, in the context of this campaign, it gives them a strong sense of ownership, especially when their own ideas about fundraising or curriculum work come to fruition.
But, as a technique, brainstorming is often badly applied. A group should generate as many ideas as possible, while suspending negative criticism (no one is allowed to say, "that's rubbish"). The rules and procedures are simple: * Explain the principles and purposes of brainstorming and tell children they will enjoy it (they do) and find it useful throughout their lives.
* Working in small groups or as a class, you put your hand up and make a suggestion.
* Write down all ideas, even if they seem unlikely.
* No negative reactions allowed, so everyone is encouraged to take part.
* Build on and extend interesting propositions.
* Try to elicit a few offbeat, unusual, or downright dotty suggestions - they sometimes turn out to be the winners.
* If people get stuck in a groove (sponsored walk, sponsored silence, sponsoredI ) help them move on.
* Try to work the most fruitful proposals up into practical projects.
Brainstorming can then be used in various ways. Start by generating ideas to raise money for Afghan children. How can we involve parents, friends, the community? Do you know of any local organisation that raises money for charity? Should we put on a concert, disco, or sporting or social event?
You can then move on to curriculum ideas. How can our project help with school work?
Or tackle media coverage. How can we get local media involved? What would be eye-catching and newsworthy? Before long brainstorming will become a way of life in your class, which is great for participation and a sense of community.
For more teaching ideas and suggestions for fundraising activities for the appeal, visit www.tes.co.ukafghanistan. Ideas from children or teachers can be sent to afghanappeal@ tes.co.uk or to Ted Wragg, Children Helping Children, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX