Teaching and Learning with Brainstorming Webs

 
 

Introduction to Webbing

Commonly used as a tool to help begin the writing process or a research assignment, webbing is a brainstorming method that provides structure for ideas and facts. Brainstorming webs provide students with a flexible framework for idea development, organizing and prioritizing information.

Typically, major topics or central concepts are at the center of a brainstorming web. Links from the center connect supporting details or ideas with the core concept or topic.

 

                                  Web Example

 

Definition of a Web

A web is a visual map that shows how different categories of information relate to one another. Webs are typically used by students, teachers and professionals as brainstorming strategies for developing and connecting ideas.

 

Benefits of Brainstorming Webs

  • Help students develop and improve fluency with thinking
  • Allow students to discover new ideas and relationships between concepts
  • Get the mind going to generate and organize thought processes, new ideas and information

                                  Web Example

 

How to Use Different Types of Brainstorming Webs in the Classroom

The following types of brainstorming webs are commonly used for teaching literary analysis, reading comprehension and writing across the curriculum. Literary webs, character webs, comparison webs, and pre-writing webs are easy to create using Inspiration Software®’s visual learning tools - Inspiration®’s, Webspiration Classroom™’s and Kidspiration®’s built-in templates and activities. An immediate jumpstart into visual learning, these cross-curricular learning exercises help students and educators see how easy and fun organized thinking can be!

  • Literary webs are a type of brainstorming web that helps students analyze stories or novels so that they can gain a better understanding of the literary elements at play, as well as the composition of the story.
    • A literary web helps students analyze the various literary elements (plot, characterization, theme, etc.) at play in any given story. By dissecting characters, plots and sequence of events, literary webs help students learn about composition and get a better understanding of a story as a whole.
  • Character webs are a type of brainstorming web that represents one of the ways in which visual learning can support reading comprehension.
    • In a character web, students identify the traits of a central character. This reinforces the concept of point of view and helps students understand a character's actions and motivation.
    • When students are reading complex stories, a character web can also show how the character develops as the story proceeds. For example, teachers can instruct students to create a web after reading the first chapter of a story and then save that web. After the second chapter, they can return to the diagram and change what they've written to reflect their new understanding of how the character has developed.
  • Comparison webs are one of the most basic and powerful forms of analysis in any discipline.  For example, in a social studies class, students may compare and contrast the characteristics of one culture with another. This type of analysis helps students better understand the groups being studied, as well as make unifying connections between them.

    • Depending on the context and complexity of the comparison webs, students may reveal:
      • The universality of cultures and religions
      • Why one civilization was able to survive at a specific point in time, while another failed
      • Why two cultures responded to the same event in different ways
      • How a culture could embrace two seemingly different religions
  • Pre-writing webs describe the brainstorming and organizing students do before writing. Once students choose a topic, they type it in the center of a web. Then they rapidly add subtopic ideas in symbols connected to the main topic. Each subtopic can have its own subtopics, which can also have subtopics, and so on.
    • When students are finished creating their diagrams, they can switch to the integrated Outline View to expand their ideas in written form. If writing is too difficult, younger students can use the Record Tool in Kidspiration® to record words or sounds and attach them to a symbol, while older students use notes text in Inspiration® to further develop their outline into a complete essay.

For more examples of webbing, as wells as other graphic organizer examples, click here.