Interactive Checklists

Step 1 - Why Checklists?

"No matter how expert you may be, well-designed check lists can improve outcomes," says Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto. Checklists can help us manage the extreme complexity of the modern world.

The problem, writes Gawande, is “making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly. Failure results not so much from ignorance (not knowing enough about what works) as from ineptitude (not properly applying what we know works)" (Source).

“Used effectively, checklists can help students develop metacognitive awareness of their intellectual processes,” says Dr. Kathleen Dudden Rowlands. “Metacognitive research consistently suggests that students who know how to learn, know which strategies are most effective when faced with a problem or a task, and have accurate methods of assessing their progress, are better learners than those who don’t” (Source).

Step 2 - Explore Checklist Options

Sample Checklist Activities for K-12 Classrooms

Eric Curts (@ericcurts) and Matt Miller (@mattmiller) suggest these activities for a checklist:

  • Steps in a science experiment
  • Self-monitoring of behavior
  • Mastery of subject content and standards
  • Tasks when composing and editing their writing
  • Working through a math procedure
  • Organize a research paper or essay with notes
  • Grab and save whiteboard notes
  • Connect to-do lists with another person
  • Save websites to a note with one click
  • Search your ideas
  • Transcribe printed notes or words into text

Simple, task-based checklists can empower and assist learners to follow steps, and help them accomplish tasks with many steps, as well as serve as memory aids.

  1. Bookmark interesting links
  2. Create a shared-responsibility bullet list for the class or color-code a note for “Homework” and pin it to the top of the Keep canvas
  3. Set time-based, or location-based, reminder alarms for notes and bookmarks
  4. Record hard-to-pronounce words
  5. Share a picture and ask students to record their thoughts

Two Options

Option #1 - Google Keep

  • Use Google Keep to create and share checklists with students. Some main
  • Create notes in your Google Keep with a headline and body text.
  • Add check boxes to make an instant checklist — perfect for a grocery list or a “grading to do” list.
  • Snap a picture to attach to a note.
  • For ideas in your brain where text and photos won’t do them justice, draw a picture freehand using the drawing tool.
  • Color code your notes to organize them.
  • Attach a label to notes, keeping ideas for projects and classes all together.
  • Set reminders — based on time or your location via GPS — that will draw your attention back to that note when you need it.
  • Share notes with collaborators so all of you can view and edit them.
Exploring Google keep

Option #2 - Google Documents

Create the Checklist

First, begin by creating the checklist in Google Docs using the “Bulleted list” feature.

  • Type out the items in the checklist, with one item per line.
  • Select all the lines of items.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of the “Bulleted list” icon in the top toolbar, and then choose the checkbox option from the pop-out menu.
  • Alternately you can click “Format” in the top menu bar, then “Lists”, then “Bulleted list”, and then finally choose the checkbox option.
  • This will place a checkbox at the start of each line in the list.

Special thanks to Eric Curts (@ericcurts). Read his blog entry at Control-Alt-Achieve Blog

Mark off the Checklist

Now the student can mark off an items in the checklist as they complete them. This can be done by changing a checkbox to a checkmark at the start of any of the lines.

  • Left-click one time on a checkbox, which will select the entire group of checkboxes.
  • Now left-click one more time on the same checkbox, which will now just select the single checkbox you have clicked on.
  • Now right-click on the same checkbox.
  • This will pop up a window where you can choose a new bullet to replace the checkbox.
  • Choose the checkmark icon.
  • The empty checkbox will now be replaced with a checkbox, indicating the item has been completed.
  • Repeat as needed for other checkboxes.

Step 3 - Make

  1. Go to
  2. Create a checklist for your students
  3. Create (some suggestions as to how) or Add an image to customize it
  4. Add Collaborators to the Note