Empowering Students with Choice Boards

An example of a student choice menu that has
students chose one item from each "course".
I've been working with a teacher lately who has struggled with her students completing a summative paper in her class. This trimester, we're working together to find a way to increase buy in and hopefully have a higher percentage of students complete the project.

While investigating options for her, the first thing that came to mind was using a choice board or learning menu to enable her students to select the method that would work best for them rather than prescribing a multimedia project.

There are a wide range of ways that you can put choice boards in to action. Tic-Tac-Toe, Menus, Choice Board... there are lots of different words to use to search for them. But the premise for all of them is the same. Give your students a selection of options to chose from and let them go with it. Beyond hopefully boosting engagement, the teacher gets the added benefit of not have a gazillion of the same thing to go through. Your initial thought might be that choice boards are better for younger students, but you can utilize them in any grade and I've even read about them being put to use in professional development. So there is really no limit to it!

If you want to get inspired or see what exactly a choice board looks like, you can check out several examples and resources that I've found on my Pinterest board. One idea that I liked is this science menu that has the students "spend" $10 on their "meal" and then gives them twelve different options with varying price points. Want to do a simpler project? Ok, but you'll do more of them than if you write and design a children's book over the topic, for example.

If you are inspired and want to get started, head on over to Shake Up Learning's web site to check out how you can create interactive learning menus with Google Tools, see more examples, and even grab some free templates. You might also want to look at "Dare to Differentiate" for more templates that you can easily upload to any of the Google tools we use in order to have a framework to work with.

And it all goes without saying that I am always here to help you in any way I can. Want help getting started, make an appointment with me and chose "Planning" from my menu and we can get together and create a choice board. Have one going but can't seem to fathom managing the chaos? I can come in for "Co-teaching" and we can tackle that beast together. Just head over to my website and make an appointment with me!

Never stop learning. Susie from SimmonsClassroom.com


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