brainstorming techniques for 2nd grade writing

3 Favorite Brainstorming Technique for 2nd Grade

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Organizing writing in 2nd grade can be a challenge. What if I told you there was a better way to set up your students for success with their writing organization while also adding bold details? I’ve found over the years that the best writings my students have produced all had the same beginnings: a good brainstorm. So today, I’m sharing three of my favorite brainstorming techniques that will set your students up for a successful writing piece!

writing brainstorming techniques for 2nd grade

Picture This!

The first brainstorming technique I want to share with you is probably the easiest to implement in grades k through 12. I like to call this brainstorming technique “Picture This,” which asks students to do exactly what the name implies… create a picture.

picture this brainstorm writing sheet

For this brainstorm, students first start with a picture of what they’d like to write about. For example, if you’re working on personal narratives, you could have a student sketch the place and some key details of what their narrative may include: sights, sounds, even smells.

To take this brainstorming technique a step further, after students finish their drawings, let them create a mini word bank to describe the items they included in their drawings. During their writing, this word bank can serve as a reminder and a personal “word wall,” which they can reference for keywords.

Like the brainstorming sheet? At the bottom of this post, I’m sharing FREE printables so you can easily use these in your classroom!

Four Square Brainstorm

This brainstorming method has been around for a long time and for a good reason! It is structured to help students produce strong writings but flexible enough to be used in many different writing situations.

4 square brainstorm writing sheet

I love using this brainstorming method in 2nd grade when we’re working on expository or step-by-step writing.

When using for expository or procedural writing, students write the topic sentence in the middle box. Then, moving from top to bottom, left to right, they add details to each box to support their main topic. In the sample above, you can see how the student wrote their topic sentence: My favorite snack is ice cream. Then, they supported their topic with details as to why that’s their favorite.

For procedural writing, students work to write the steps in each box. Another variation of this brainstorm includes using the last box as a place for students to write their conclusion statement. No matter how you choose to use this brainstorming method, your students will create a well-organized foundation for their writing pieces.

Love all these brainstorming ideas but want to have everything done for you when it comes to your writing lessons? Check out this chunky writing bundle!

Bubble or Brain Web Brainstorm

The last brainstorming method I’m sharing with you today goes by many names: brain map, brain web, bubble map, writing web, etc. But, in the end, the results are the same: one large bubble that contains the focus topic, to which smaller ones with details, ideas, and words connect.

brain web brainstorming sheet

I like using this brainstorm in 2nd grade to help students guide their thinking process when writing about a topic about which they know many details or have learned a lot of information. This strategy allows students to sort through the “closet” of their brains on a certain topic and create categories within that topic. Then, add details to each of the categories.

In the sample above, the student uses this method to organize their thinking for making s’mores. In the middle bubble, the student placed their topic. Then, outstretched from there, you can see a “materials” bubble and steps bubbles. Once the web is complete, the student can use the categories to build a well-organized and clearly outlined writing.

Writing Brainstorm Sheets For Better Writing

Want to grab these brainstorming sheets and have more organized writings from the beginning of the writing process? Just sign up below and grab these three sheets. Enter your information for these brainstorming sheets to be sent straight to your inbox!

Favorite Brainstorming Techniques for 2nd Grade

Starting your writing with a brainstorming exercise is the perfect way to lay a solid foundation for your students’ writings. A brainstorm can help students organize their thoughts and think of important details before the hard work of writing begins. This small win makes the writing process seem less intimidating and more attainable for even your most struggling writers. These three brainstorming techniques are the perfect place to start when organizing your student’s writings.

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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