Try a Top Ten Writing Activity

Have you tried having your students write Top Ten Lists yet? Top  I love Top Ten lists for several reasons:

Use for Critical Thinking
Top Ten Lists require higher level thinking as students must evaluate different options, weighing one against another to decide not only what to include, but also the order of the items they do choose. You can also extend the activity by asking students to justify their top choices.

Use Across the CurriculumThey can be used in a variety of ways across the curriculum. Here are just a few examples:

Free End of the Year Top 10
  • A Top Ten Facts About...activity could apply to many different subjects - animals, countries, people etc. It might also make a nice add-on activity for a report on the subject. 
  • If you are reading a book with many characters, such a The Hunger Games, you could have students list their ten favorite characters. 
  • If you are studying inventors, why not ask students to list what they consider to be the ten most important inventions ever. 
  • How about using Top Ten Lists at the end of the year? Addie Williams of Teacher Talk has a terrific Top Ten freebie for the end of the year that you can download on her excellent blog.
Use in Different Ways
Top Ten Lists can enhance your curriculum in many different ways. Try some of these ideas:
  • Create a Top Ten Center. Change the topic each week. 
  • Use as bell work, for fast finishers, or enrichment homework.
  • Have your students work in pairs or small groups to complete their lists. 
  • Have students create their lists poster style, decorating with a colorful headline, border and pictures.
  • Have students create their lists on the computer, using fun fonts, borders and all the other bells and whistles.
  • Record your students reading their lists in David Letterman style. 
  • Create Top Ten Books and have students create a different list in their books each week, perhaps as bell work. This could also be good handwriting practice
  • Create a Top Ten Class book in which each student contributes one page. This could be a "Best of" book in which each student chooses his or her favorite page to include or you could choose one topic and include everyone's list on that topic.
  • Discuss, discuss, discuss! Top ten lists make terrific discussion prompts. Ask students to explain their choices. You could also extend  the activity by having them write about their top choices. 
Use to Motivate Reluctant Writers
Even reluctant writers enjoy creating Top Ten Lists. Sometimes it is those reluctant writers who come up with the most interesting and creative lists!

It is easy to create Top Ten Lists yourself. All you need is an idea and a piece of paper. However, if you would like a set of 50 Ready-to-Use Top Ten Lists, you can find them here.


Addie Williams said...

Thanks Rachel! I love the post.


Lori Rosenberg said...

Excellent ideas! Thanks so much!

Lori (
Teaching With Love and Laughter

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