Benefits exercises listening, memory, and organization skills


  • developing questions
1-5 min





Consider collecting and sharing anonymously.

Present a synthesis of the list at the beginning
of the next class.

Assessment low-stakes, formative (participation)

In focused listing, students list key terms/concepts recently covered in a lesson in a short amount of time. Preparation and follow-up is minimal, and can help inform the instructor on student comprehension and focus. Focused listing exercises often occur at the end of a class session.

Focused listing involves pre-work of identifying associated reading/presentation/topic on the part of the instructor, about 15 minutes pre-class work for students, and 10-15 minutes in-class time. One key differences between focused listing and brainstorming is that students can work independently on a focused listing, and then share and collate their lists for the larger group to identify categories and associations.

This activity works well to introduce a topic, as an exercise joining/synthesizing two sets of information, or as something to return to as a wrap-up so that participants can compare before/after thinking. Advantages of this activity include the opportunity for the instructor to gather a sense of students' understanding or misconception on a topic.

If this exercise is implemented online, instructors may utilize a forum as a destination for both the lists and a synthesized class list created by the instructor. Alternatively, you can set up your forum to require that the student submit their individual list before seeing the lists of others.