GA3: Brainstorming

Please read the Personal “Literacies” Narrative Essay Guidelines.  Then, do some brainstorming!  (See the HANDOUTS section of our Course Open Lab site if you want to learn more about approaches to Brainstorming)  Afterward, post a reply to the BRAINSTORMING A PERSONAL NARRATIVE ESSAY blog post in which you write two short paragraphs:  in the first paragraph, you will describe HOW you brainstormed for this assignment; in your second paragraph, you will explain WHAT your topic will be for the narrative essay and WHAT you plan to write about.

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49 Responses to GA3: Brainstorming

  1. Sheldon says:

    The way I like to brainstorm is to think about my topic/main idea first. Whatever the topic is, I have to think through what relates to that topic and I’d write it down or type it up. If I manage to think of a quote, sentence,definition that relates to the topic, I may use that (in an essay, statement, etc) and elaborate on it more. If my topic is something that I’ve done before, I would look back at what I’ve done and see if any of it is worth putting down or any that I find essential to the essay. By looking back, that also includes reading too. One more thing I would do is ask questions about that topic or search questions on that topic. Questions helps gives information that you can choose to add into your essay if you’d like to.

    My topic for my narrative essay will be about writing rhymes/raps. Withing there, I will talk about the definition of rhyme, how we read rhymes, come up with them, how people speak them, how to tell if something is a rhyme and so forth. It’ll be important for me to give the definition and possibly an example of a rhyme in the introduction so that my audience/myself will understand what the topic will be discussing through the narrative essay.

    • This sounds great. However, how do you plan to connect the writing rhymes/raps to your experiences with reading and writing generally? Remember: you are telling a story in this essay about yourself. If you were writing what is sometimes called a “process” essay, you would explain the steps involved in how you compose rhymes/raps. In a personal narrative essay, you are showing your reader how the writing of rhymes/raps relates to your experiences and/or understanding of writing and reading.

      I also must thank you for your detailed explanation of your brainstorming process. I’m fascinated by the fact that you respond to quotes and/or think about definitions into that process.

      • Sheldon says:

        I’m going to connect/relate rhymes to reading a writing by giving examples of some rhymes I wrote myself. Then from there, I’ll explain what type of rhyme it is ( like a story rhyme or a message to the audience rhyme). After that, I can explain how I wrote the rhyme, then read it so that it will make sense to whoever reads it. It’s kinda like I’m writing it first, then I read it, but I can re read it and edit it ( red write it in a different way or fix mistakes), then on and on. Just a little insight of what I’ll talk about in my personal narrative essay.

  2. Adriana says:

    The way I do my brainstorming is separating it on stages of my life, from child to adulthood, I go through the general details and end with the specifics.

    I consider writing about how I learned to read, how to read at a certain stage in my life consisted of a great headache not only for me, for my grandmother, my great curiosity towards “forbidden” books, and finally, readings that were already mere pleasure and not required by the school.

    • This sounds great! You have done a great job letting us know what you will be doing in the essay. Do you also have a sense of what the story you are telling is about? Is it more about other people helping you to learn how to read or forbidden books or some combination of both?

  3. The way I brainstorm is by thinking about the main topic and the informations that relates it. Once I have the ideas together, I write them down in outline format.

    I decided to write about how I learned to read. In this writing I will talk about how my parents inspired me to read, and how my older sister helped me learn it. Most importantly, how I didn’t have any choice then learning how to speak and read in English after I came to America.

  4. The way I brainstorm is writing down my main topic and the directions I can go as far as the topic is concerned. I then usually weigh the pros and cons of each direction until I finally settle on one.

    I decided to write about how my active imagination and maladaptive daydreams helped develop my love for reading and writing. My mind would be all over the place at any given time and the only way to slow it down would be to read or write a short story

  5. Chadel says:

    I brainstromed this topic, while reading the “Personal Literacies essay Guidelines” by Professor Rodgers, I have always wanted to write about this topic in general, because I have gone digital just recently and it wasn’t really that hard of switch, because most of everything I did was mostly on the computer anyways so I guess you could say it was coming, but it have enhanced the game because the internet is getting really popular now. Because we don’t even need a pen or paper to get our education anymore.

    My Topic is “How technology has changed the ways in which we read and write”. I plan to talk about various of different topics that involves technology in some way and how it’s relates. To my start up to reading and writing, but to go into detail I would say how google changed the way I write and read and how apps like iBooks and Google Docs make the process more easier for someone who’s gone “digital”!.

    • Chadel,

      This is a fascinating and very broad topic. I’ll look forward to hearing more about your experiences with reading and writing and technologies and to seeing what you discover about all of the above.

  6. Alex says:

    The way I brainstormed for essay is to think about the topic to see what kind of ideas that i can write, then I’ll think of any personal experience that I can relate to the topic. Last, I will list them all together on a document.

    My topic for this narrative essay is my journal of american. I’ll probably write about the time I came to american and the difficulty that I had face in school

  7. T. Mohamed says:

    I normally brainstorm by relating my own experiences with the topic at hand. I try to relate my own experience by thinking of other topics that can merge with the one I’m talking about, and then thinking about personal experiences that can relate to that and how I can put that into a piece of writing. First, I think of different things I can write about a specific topic, and the experiences come to mind on their own because thinking of the different things trigger certain memories of certain events that happened that I can relate to the topic.

    Since the essay is going to focus on literature, like the three essays we read for examples, I decided to take after “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie and talk about how I “learned” to read and write in English. I’m going to write about my experiences as a child coming from Guinea at the age of 9 and having to learn a new language and new educational techniques and getting used to a different type of education system. I’m going to take this opportunity to educate people on how the education here differs from other cultures where certain methods are practiced that aren’t often heard of. I’m also going to talk about my transition from such learning methods to the ones I was introduced to when I came here.

  8. Stefan says:

    When I brainstorm for a essay I write down what I know first. If there is a particular topic or idea I do know I write down as much as I can on what I already know. If there are certain concepts or ideas a topic I’m writing about that I know little to nothing of then I research and put forth an effort to try to understand the idea or topic. It’s important to me to know fully and to the best of my capabilities what I am writing or trying to write about. The end goal to all of this I want to be able to talk to the reader not just rephrase text I’ve taken from another source.

    What I would like to talk about for my narrative essay is how we Interpretate things differently and how each view isn’t necessarily wrong. Simple text, lyrics or even dialogue can take up different meanings between two different people. This has always fascinated me because I could argue with a peer about a piece of media that we could never agree whether it is good or bad. I’ll explore that further in my essay.

  9. Tyra Daniel says:

    When it comes to brainstorming, I always sit down with a clear head space and a blank piece of paper in front of me. I think about what will be interesting for me to write about that goes along my prompt, yet a topic that will lead me to write a lot on. After looking at my ideas, and imagining outlines, I finally decide a topic. As time goes by, I continuously think about to chosen topic making sure I have made the right choice. A person like me who sits down and thinks deeply a lot doesn’t find it hard to brainstorm at all! After all, I always have ideas backed up in my head.
    In my narrative essay, I would like to write about how a Caribbean household “shaped” my informal writing/reading habits, and what I did to fix it. My essay will focus on the importance of reading and writing, what it can do to improve it, and also the people around me that helped. I am super excited to write about this as it means a lot to me, and where I came from on my reading/writing level.

    • Tyra,

      This sounds great!!!!! Thanks for offering so many detailed insights into your brainstorming process. Your essay topic sounds fascinating. Although we have not yet spent much time talking about Standard Written English (SWE) as one dialect among many, I know we have touched on this topic. I mention this here since you may want to think about the meeting of your home language(s) and school language(s) less as a “fixing” than as a negotiation. How does one inform the other? Is it possible to be speak multiple dialects and still be a competent writer of SWE?

      • Tyra Daniel says:

        Thank You Professor Rodgers! Since you put it that way, I will think about my home language and school language as a negotiation rather than a problem. I think its all about balance, and when to use the different languages. Based of the situation I am in or the people I am surrounded by, I will decide how to speak. I believe it is possible to speak multiple dialects and still be competent writer of SWE, because all you have to do is know when to be formal and informal.

        • Tyra Daniel says:

          Professor, what exactly do you mean by “informing” one by the other?

          • Great question! I mean it literally (as I usually do mean most things), which is to say that the “negotiation,” as you put it, between your home language(s) and school language(s) end up changing both. It is a two way street. I hope that makes sense. If not, let’s talk more about this question on Wednesday.

  10. Kyle Brunson says:

    My brainstorming process tends to change depending on how much time I have left before the assignment is due. But basically, it begins with me writing down the essay prompt on a piece of paper and then writing down whatever comes to my mind after. I think its important to write down ideas that seem unimportant or unrelated and then flush those ideas out. There’s probably a good reason it came to my head after reading the prompt. After finding an idea or ideas that seem good, its time to expand and explore them.
    My narrative essay will be about my relationship with reading and writing growing up. How the type of person I am now was shaped by what I read and what I wrote. And the influences in my life.

  11. melannie moreira says:

    The way that i brainstorm before writing about a certain topic, is that i usually write the topic in big letters on the top of my paper and start tot think about the main points i would like to add on my writing, i start to think about what could happen in the topic and how i could explain myself with details, i like to write it all in a piece of paper like a outline or sometimes i make a web. It makes it much more easier for me to just add on things, i prefer writing it in paper then a computer because i feel like writing helps me keep my ideas more then typing it, i could type my ideas better of a paper that has my ideas on it. Then i start to think about what i want first to come up on my topic and so on.

    My narrative essay would be about the way technology has changed the way i read and write. Some of the things i would include is how much a phone or any other technology can be used as a distraction to reading and writing.

    • Thanks, Melannie! I’m particularly interested in the fact that you will be writing about technologies and writing and how that topic relates to what you write about your brainstorming process. It is fascinating that you prefer to brainstorm with pen and paper. At what point do you start using your phone or computer? what happens when you start to use these devices?

  12. AkramKhan says:

    The way I brainstorm for a essay is by thinking about situations and examples that work with the topic. Then I write down the ideas that would work out well in the essay and think about how I could improve them even further.

    For my narrative essay I’ll probably be writing about how the internet changed my reading and writing methods over time. Instead of using proper English over the internet, I began to learn acronyms and other lingo used in the online world. Instead of reading novels, I started to read blogs, stories, and the news online using various different sites.

    • Akram,

      Thanks for this. Your topic is a fascinating and very broad one. Remember: this is a personal narrative essay, so try to focus on retelling your own experiences. I can’t wait to see your next draft.

  13. The way I brainstorm,is by gathering all the information, i want the audience to know about the topic, then carefully deciphering the key points , words, and chronological order of those experiences. I try to open the paragraph with a question or phrase, that has a debative or emotional connection to target a specific audience then slowly develop the body of information, like a bread trail. after writing i do a few revision to pick out words one at a time that may stand out to cary the purpose of the topic clearer to the audience. last i correct the stucture of the paragraph and punctuation using english writing guidelines.

    My Narrative Essay will be about some of the techniques i learn, after reading and writing and college papers, to texting and communicationg on social media. the way how words are often used out of context can change the way how i organize and distribute information about any topic.

    • Thanks, Collin! It sounds like you, Chadel, Melannie, and Akram (and possibly Stefan) have quite a few similar interests with respect to this essay. I encourage you all to converse on this site and via e-mail regarding your narrative essay projects.

  14. chemar prussia says:

    The way i like to brainstorm is to think about my topic and write down my thoughts and make side notes so i can gather all my information together and have a better understanding about what i am going to write.

    I really don’t sure about what i am going to write about but i think it going to be a narrative essay but i am also brainstorming others.

    • Chemar,

      Thanks for posting. Of course, as you know, this post is incomplete, but I’ll assume you are going to complete this later today before you submit RWA3 ;).

      • chemar prussia says:

        Sorry I’m just seeing this professor but is this the assignment i was missing because i do not see any other assignment that I’m missing from the group assignment this week. So could u kindly tell me what else I’m missing please and thank you in advance .

  15. Anika says:

    I brainstormed for this assignment by first reading Professor Rodger’s Personal Literacies Narrative Essay Guidelines. This helped me to pick my main idea of my essay. This reminded me of the essay “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie who wrote about how he learned to read. I picked my main idea and wrote it down. I used the technique of listing/bulleting to brainstorm. I listed different words and phrases that were related to my topic and would help me remember what I wanted to add to my essay.

    My topic for the narrative essay is how I learned to read. I will give some background of where my mom came from. Then I will write about how she taught me to read at a young age using the books she learned to read with from where she came from. I will mention how she made it fun for me by using books with characters of my favorite cartoon.

    • Thanks, Anika! This sounds like a great start. I’m (of course) delighted that you read the assignment as part of your brainstorming process!!!!! I will also look forward to hearing more about your mother’s use of cartoons in teaching you how to read. Has your Mom read the Alexie essay? I wonder what she would think of that???? It also sounds like you and Alexie may have some interesting things in common regarding how you both learned to read.

  16. Huilinmei says:

    The way I brainstorm is by thinking about the main topic first and then write down my thoughts. After that, I will think of something that happened to my life and is related to the topic, and then, I will write down everything that appears in my mind, the important ideas and the ideas that are not very important. I will see if any of this ideas workout in my essay.
    My narrative essay will be about how my sister effects my attitude toward reading, I will write about my childhood life in my essay. Such as, why I hate reading at the beginning, and why I begin to read. Also, I will write down why I refused to read when I came to America.

  17. Demba Diop says:

    the way I brainstorm is to by trying to see what the main idea is about. I write down all the information I think might help me to develop the idea . I also ask to myself question that help me to expand the subject. I use the dictionary when I don’t understand some words that appear essential to well develop the topic .
    My narrative essay will be about how I uses to read and write a lot and why I stopped doing those things as much .my ability to read and write has always been good or bad and it looks important to talk about it .maybe it’s going to help me improving it.

  18. Omayra says:

    For the “Narrative essay” assignment I will be drawing out a map for my body paragraphs, my introduction and conclusion. I’ll be finding background evidence and jotting down personal experiences. I’ll make sure that each body paragraph will have a topic sentence and transition sentences. Maybe I can mention some scenes and dialogue. I also like to put a lot of bullet points of things that I can mention in the essay. Another thing that I’ll be brainstorming on is my introduction, so I can make sure I’ll grab the reader’s attention.

    For the Narrative essay I will be writing about how I use to read and write a lot and why I later stopped doing those things as much. I am planning to write about when I use to be so obsessed with reading teen magazines as a kid. I’ll be writing about how technology has made me stop reading as much as I did before. Another thing I’ll be writing about is the love I had for poetry, and why I stopped writing poems.

    • Thanks, Omayra! Wow!!!! It sounds like you have a LOT to write about, which is very exciting but can also present some difficulties with how to focus the essay. For now, I hope you will dedicate your energy to writing out all of the things you have to say. From there, you can then start forming and shaping the essay as a whole.

      All best,

      Prof. Rodgers

  19. Anonymous says:

    When I am writing a narrative essay, I usually brainstorm by recalling my personal experiences. I list a couple of ideas to write about. Then I choose a topic that has the potential to be exceptionally informative and interesting for the audience to read about.
    I read Professor Rodger’s Personal Literacies Narrative Essay Guidelines and it helped give me an exact idea I chose to write about. I incorporated some of the writing ideas that was suggested in the guideline to help form my narrative essay topic.

    My topic will be about how I learned to assimilate to the culture during my time in Honduras. I will be writing about my experience in Honduras where I lived for about a year and a half. I will also write about how difficult to assimilate to a country who’s native language is Spanish.

  20. Ian Ackerman says:

    When I begin brainstorming I tend to get my ideas very jumbled and I can end up off topic very quickly. Recently what I’ve done is think of brainstorming like a story where it progresses from beginning to end. There is still a lot of side tracking that goes on but it still manages to all flow together much better than before. After I have my very messy initial brainstorming, I go back and treat it as revision. I often find many ideas that don’t share enough with the central idea and what I am left with is a semi cohesive narrative. From there I can create a very strong first draft since many of the ideas I want to address are already written out.

    My narrative essay will be focused around my attempts at reading books that we’re well above what I could read at the time and how that changed how I approached reading. When ever I tried to read something that I knew would be difficult I read with the book in one hand and a dictionary in the other. I also want to write about how my mom who I consider an extremely smart person gave me some of the extra push needed to actually do it.

  21. chemar prussia says:

    I brainstormed for this assignment by first reading Professor Rodger’s Personal Literacies Narrative Essay Guidelines. This helped me to pick my main idea of my essay. I’ll be finding background evidence and jotting down personal experiences.

    My narrative essay will be focus around how i learn how to read and write through out my life experience and how it gave me headache and also how improve on my reading and writing.

  22. Ojanny says:

    Brainstorming helps me a lot because when I think about an assignment my ideas are usually all over the place and with brainstorming I write these ideas down and then leave the ones I still think are good the next day and erase the ones I dont think are.

    My narrative essay was on how I learned how to read and write in english after 11 years of spanish being the only language I spoke.

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