Here are some of my favorites:
Create a set of questions related to a topic of study. Write them out on chart paper. These questions will be used as brainstorming sheets for a pre lesson assessment, and then again for a post lesson assessment. Group students at one of the chart questions and have them discuss and record ideas. Upon a designated signal pass the charts to a new group and continue the same process. Each group will respond and add to all question charts. The neat part of this is if you do the same questions as a post Carousel Writing you can see growth in ideas. The samples below were for a science unit on Living Things. The pre lesson Carousel brainstorming was in red and the post lesson was in green.
This idea comes from the book Getting Into Words by Shira Lubliner.
Use this web link printable to color code vocabulary word familiarity in stoplight colors:
Red: If you don't know the word
Yellow: If you have heard the word, but not sure of its meaning
Green: If you know the word and can use it in a sentence
I use this interactive activity for study brainstorm sessions. Tape a Study Jam sheet to each student's back with a topic indicated. Let them form writing trains and review for a test. What a perfect way to engage their learning in a hands on way. A double plus is students then have a ready made study guide to take home.