When brainstorming, keep the groups small, usually between 5 and 7 people works best. This will allow the quiet or shy students the opportunity to also get involved in the process and not allow the outgoing students to take over. Once the groups have been created give them 5 minutes to discuss. They can discuss just about anything.
Use brainstorming as an opening to a topic and have the students discuss what they know about that subject. This will not only get them engaged but it will help you see how much they already know about a given topic. You can also present a challenge and have students brainstorm a solution. Or, use it as a review and have students discuss everything that stood out to them in the class. There are so many ways to use brainstorming, get creative on how you incorporate it.
It is also important to keep in mind that the group discussion is only part of it. After each group has had time to brainstorm, have them report out to the full group and hold a discussion on what they learned.
When brainstorming, have the student keep the following guidelines in mind: