A List Of Lists

Everyone loves lists! They are handy and great ways to organize knowledge and also to use as a base for further language-related activities.

So I’d like to share a “list of lists” – basic list related activities that teachers can quickly use as the “flour” for their language lesson. But before this, a few thoughts.

I was surprised looking at ELT Buzz Teaching Resources and seeing under the search term for “list” – 881 items! Holy Mackerel! But upon reflection, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. We focus on “materials lite” and content that doesn’t impose itself onto a teacher and turn them into a robot following instructions. And lists, getting students to brainstorm and share their knowledge – fits right into materials lite methodology and design.

Lists and having students exploit existing lists or brainstorming their own lists fosters a lot of cooperative learning and critical thinking. Teach students the language to discuss and offer their choices – “I think …. is a good fit”, “My opinion is …” “What do you think about …?” etc … With this in hand, “listing” (my term) is a great, strong language teaching, “go to” core lesson activity.

So here is my List Of Lists. Really off the top of my head and linked with existing examples on ELT Buzz Teaching Resources. Starting from the most common to the least common.

  1. Shopping / Grocery lists
  2. To Do lists
  3. Bucket lists
  4. Alphabet / Word Lists (starts with letter X, has 4 letters, ends with …)
  5. Famous people lists
  6. Top 10, Top 5 lists
  7. Things that … lists (collocations – are yellow, you drive, you love, are round).
  8. Checklists
  9. Tip / Advice lists
  10. Favorites lists
  11. Movie / Music playlists
  12. Pros & Cons lists
  13. Famous people lists
  14. Best Things About … lists (summer, being single, country …)
  15. Top Reasons To (buy a car, get married, get a dog etc …)
  16. Wish lists.
  17. Christmas Wish Lists
  18. Job / Careers lists
  19. Synonyms / Antonyms lists
  20. Country lists
  21. My Currents lists
  22. Preferences lists
  23. Trip Packing lists
  24. If lists (if I had $million, if I were …, if I could …)
  25. Questions lists
  26. Stand up if … (Yes / No questions) lists
  27. To Read. To Watch. lists
  28. Ranking lists
  29. Rules lists
  30. Dreams lists

What other types of lists did I miss!!!!????

Caveat. We DON’T advocate teaching lists through memorization. Word/Vocabulary lists of that sort. Research doesn’t support their use except for high stakes, short term test success.


Also published on Medium.

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