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Justified List


Students select examples of a concept from both positive and negative exemplars and justify their thinking.


  • Justified List handout (copied or projected)
  • Justified List template (English/Spanish)
  • Notebook paper (if handout is projected)


  1. Provide students with a question stem such as:
    • Science: Which of the following can you justify is a mixture?
    • Math: Which of the following equations can you justify as examples of positive slope?
    • Social Studies: Which of the following can you justify as causes of the Civil War?
    • Reading: Which of the following statements can you justify as inferences?
  2. Provide students with a list of examples and non-examples associated with the question, including both text and visuals as appropriate.
  3. Students check positive examples and justify responses.
  4. Students write the rule that reflects the common attributes of positive examples.
  5. Using Musical Mix-Freeze-Group, students share/compare responses with a peer.
  6. Observe students’ thinking and clarify/verify as appropriate.

Classroom Management

  • Rehearse the strategy with a simple, fun topic before using it with academic content.
  • Allow students to choose any response as long as they justify their thinking.


  • Promote access by revealing 1 positive example and 1 negative example to launch thinking.
  • Promote access by allowing students to work with a supportive peer and/or allowing the use of speech-to-text or word prediction support if using a digital version of the Justified List template.

Think It Up!

  • Have students think more deeply about the concept by responding to a Think It Up prompt as an exit ticket or journal entry:
    • Compare/Contrast your response to peers and revise your list as you see fit.
    • Create/Develop two more positive examples.
  • Encourage students to use lead4ward’s Thinking Stems (English/Spanish) to frame their responses, if needed.