Bubbl.us is an online brainstorming tool. Students visually map from a central concepts, expand upon these concepts, and can demonstrate linkages between concepts. Bubbl.us is useful for class discussions and activities as teachers can save the map, and distribute it to all students.
Teachers can scaffold student understanding of crime fiction genres, by visually mind mapping the main elements of the genre; an example is given above. Students can then use the elements of the genre to write creative pieces. Furthermore, students can brainstorm their own creative writing pieces before starting the writing process. Bubbl.us is particularly useful for students to scaffold the linkages between characters, plot points, red herrings, and clues.
If students have an understanding of the genre, but their creative writing pieces are lacking in authenticity, and descriptiveness, Bubbl.us can be used for the following activity. The teacher or class selects a certain character, or setting. Students brainstorm descriptions of this character or setting on Bubbl.us. When sufficient responses have been given, the teacher informs students that they are to write a descriptive paragraph about this character or setting without using any of the brainstormed words, or deviations thereof. This activity aims to encourage students to write more descriptively, and creatively, and encourages students to think deeper about settings and characters.
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A similar activity can be found on for getting students more descriptive in general. https://catswhiteboard.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/355/