Writers Making Lists


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Making lists seems like such a simple task doesn't it?  I'm at a point in my life where 1) I can't remember stuff and 2) I get great satisfaction from crossing off something on my to-do list. When I started creating my writing journals I wanted my students to be a part of the process of creating examples to refer back to. One of the first items we work on is creating lists. Why work on something that is seemingly so simple? Lists are the basis of all of our planning and pre-writing!

Making lists piece in interactive portion of writing journal. 

Young writers need lots of practice writing lists and thinking of ideas quickly. It's hard when you're a first grader to get your ideas onto your paper and to do it quickly. The first example students put into their writing journals is a list. (I also created a few other lists for them to add into their journal. These could be placed into their journals behind my original list or be placed in your writing center as a quick option for them.) I want them to be able to think of simple ideas like farm animals and be able to write a list for them. Then we can practice how to make sentences from our list.

One fun way to practice making lists is with this list making SCOOT activity. Of course you could laminate these lists and allow students to write on them with dry erase markers so that you get several years of use out of them. I copied mine onto Astrobrights Card Stock. Astrobrights also has a double color cardstock, but it's very hard for me to find. I did find this brand. I like that with double color I can make my cardstock go a bit further so all of my activities have different colors.




Split your class into groups of four or five students. Each student gets their own list. It may help to print them on different colors. Students write one item on their list. Then SCOOT to the next list in the group and try to list something not already written. You only have four or five students in each group so the SCOOT game goes pretty quickly. Come back together as a whole class to begin comparing lists. If you have space in your room post all your lists up. This is a great tool for your ESL, ELL, and low readers. It's ok for them to copy the lists into their journals. They are still practicing writing!

Lists Freebie. Click on the picture above to download.


This would also be a great small group activity! Many students do better verbalizing what they want on their list before they write it down. Pair up students and have them orally lists items for their list before writing it down. Two heads are better than one, right? So even your shy kiddos will feel successful.

*If you teach an older group of students you could do the same activity but ask students to make lists on medium sized Post It Super Sticky 4x6 Notes. The Miami color combo is so pretty! Your students can stick their notes right into their journals!


When I first start literacy station rotations and journal writing is a station I may tell me students to write a list this time. They have an example to refer back to and this helps them practice using their journal as a tool. We want our students to know exactly where to get the information they need!


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