Top 10 Lists- Course 1 Final Project

Project Background

Some rights reserved by Sam Churchill

I’m excited to launch a new writing unit this week in my Grade 4 classroom. Top 10 lists, or list articles, are topical, relevant and ‘cool’ so I know my students are going to have a lot of fun reading, analyzing and creating top 10 lists. It also brims with opportunities for ‘real’ digital connections- reading top 10 lists from the Internet, creating lists with digital tools such as images, audio, video and text, and sharing the list articles with peers locally and globally. The unit has so much potential and I’m excited to see how it might hook students, particularly reluctant writers.

I was also inspired by Angela Maiers and her list of 12 Things Kids Want from their Teachers. I’m enjoying ‘dabbling’ with technology and finding fun lists and websites to share with my students. I’m anticipating a lot of fun, laughter and totally engaged students!


While I’ll be using a variety of mentor texts during this unit to demonstrate the features of list articles (Top 10 lists), I will also be sharing a number of websites with my students. I’m considering the best way to give students access to websites to explore list articles and research their own lists. As this is a writing unit, the focus should not be research, however I believe that students should have the opportunity to explore a number of websites to help add authenticity to the unit. I will discuss the best way to do this with our Technology Coach, Chrissy Hellyer, later this week. At present, I’m thinking that sharing the list of websites I’ve personally screened with the students on a Google doc. This will provide an opportunity for exploration and an element of choice, with a fair amount safety and security.

Due to the nature of the Internet, however, I feel I will have to brief students on the possibility of coming across inappropriate content or images, and what they should do should this happen. Of course, these kinds of discussions, and exploration such as this is necessary to prepare students for using digital media in the modern world. As Jeff Utecht states, “digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate and create information using digital technology” (Reach: Jeff Utecht). Exploring websites to better understand top 10 lists will help students become literate in the digital world.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post: Connect, Create, Collaborate, Utecht also believes that teachers need to understand and become prosumers. In order to prepare our students for today’s connected digital world, teachers need to be familiar with the tools students will need to survive. Throughout this course and in preparation for this unit, I have explored websites and continued to upskill in order to help students gain success in locating and organizing information and creating their own products. As we work through the project I hope to gain more insight into how to successfully navigate websites with students and facilitate learning. We will all be learners and prosumers together.

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5 Responses to “Top 10 Lists- Course 1 Final Project”

  • Comment from Emily Roth

    Hi Cheryl,
    I’m also a grade 4 teacher, so I really enjoyed reading through your post and project! I’m at The American Community School of Abu Dhabi. The point about taking time to teach the kids about what to do when coming across inappropriate content on the internet really resonated with me. This is happening at our school. Some people want to block their access in fear of them seeing ill-suited matter. I agree with you in that we cannot, nor should we, shield students from the modern day internet/world. Rather, we need to arm them! Arm them with knowledge and intuition and help mold them into tech-savvy 21st-century learners!

    • Avatar of Cheryl Terry Comment from Cheryl Terry

      Thanks Emily,
      I’m glad that you’re also keen to teach your students the skills necessary to survive in the digital world. If you’re interested in doing any kind of collaborative project, even as simple as commenting on student blogs, please let me know. We’d love to collaborate with more classes and my students would love more readers too! My class blog is: link to There are links to the student blogs on the right hand side of the blog. We’d love you to visit!

  • Avatar of Megan Walker Comment from Megan Walker

    What a fantastic idea! I’d love to do this with my fifth graders at Seoul Foreign School, and I know they’d love it as well! Your essential questions especially caught my eye: while the writing standards we have include three of them, missing is the question of how we effectively communicate with digital tools and texts.

    I’ve done my first foray into using student blogs this year… Might we visit, read, enjoy, and comment on your blogs as well?

    • Avatar of Cheryl Terry Comment from Cheryl Terry

      Dear Megan,

      Thanks for your message. I’m so glad that the top 10 lists would interest your students. We’d love you to visit our blogs and my students are getting lots of practice now at making comments and also creating quality blog posts. Ms. Terry’s Class Blog We would be happy to visit your students’ blogs too and make comments. In fact, if your class would like to create a Top 10 lists of their favorite books, I’d love to share it with my class and then send you our list.

      Thanks for getting in touch and good luck with your blogs!

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