Making It a Priority!

Item description: 

Any problem in life from the mundane to the urgent can become an opportunity to learn. Making It a Priority is a formative assessment technique that prompts students to generate and rank order alternative strategies to address an issue, solve a problem, or meet a need.

The template provided here is useful for elementary and middle school students in the brainstorming process of moving from the identification of the problem to determining alternatives, and finally choosing the best option.

Some sample problems might be:

  • How can we cut down the traffic in front of the school at the end of the day?
  • What should we include on the school website?
  • What is the best fund-raiser?
  • What could the school do to communicate better with parents?
  • Among solar, wind, and geothermal energy which should we use in new home construction?
  • What are the top ten best children's books of all time?
  • What route should be taken?




  • Develop a clear statement of the question, task, or problem.
  • Download and fill in the Making it a Priority template. Print enough copies for each student.


  1. Explain the instructions and expectations for the assignment.
  2. Distribute the Making It a Priority worksheets.
  3. As a class, have students brainstorm a list of all possible alternatives.
  4. As individuals, have students rank the options in priority order, explaining their thinking for ranking the top two and bottom two priorities.
  5. Collect student responses and synthesize the information.
  6. Discuss findings with the class on the following day.
  7. Reach a consensus course of action.


Preparation time: 15 / Delivery time: 75

PDF icon Making It A Priority Template106.04 KB