Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are you Using Choice Boards in the Classroom?

I love, love, love choice boards. I started using them in my fifth grade reading classroom this past year. I previously used menus where students completed ALL activities in stations, but I'm loving the students having voice and choice in the classroom (and so do they).

With choice boards, students can choose HOW to complete certain activities (their final product) and WHICH products they will complete. Because of this, my students beg for more choice boards. Gotta love that as a teacher! This also fits in differentiation and depth and complexity.

When I began, I sat down and pondered on which types of activities I wanted to include on my choice boards. Some of the activities I came up with included poetry, drama (performance reading), close reading, vocabulary, and of course technology. Then I got to the fun part...coming up with ideas for those categories.

The next question was which type of choice board to I want to use? Tic Tac Toe? Dinner Menu (where they complete an appetizer, main entree, and dessert)? Something totally new? What I ended up with was my own design where I have students completing the STARRED square first, then corners, and then moving into the choice and a bonus. This worked very well in my classroom. I never had students asking, "What do I do next?" Students knew expectations and what to do when finished. Yes!

It's important to set up expectations for choice boards at the beginning of the year. Go over where to get supplies, where to turn in finished products, how they will be assessed, and what voice level you expect on certain activities. This is crucial for everything to run smoothly and for students to work independently.

When you walk into a classroom that's utilizing choice boards, you'll see A LOT going on. Students are working on a variety of activities, which I absolutely love! More importantly, your students will love it as well and therefore get more engaged in the activities and learning. We know what that brings...better results and deeper learning.

Here's a few pictures of my students in action (creating products, performing commercials, playing educational games, learning new vocabulary, and more). Students are collaborating, asking questions, using teamwork and leadership skills, and learning from one another.

Since my choice boards are kid-tested and approved, I decided to include them in my TpT Store. Along with the choice board (which has editable directions in case you want to use the TIC TAC TOE or another format), comes the support pages and task cards. 

Check out my newest choice boards! 

Choice Board: Set 1

Choice Board: Set 2

Non Fiction Choice Board
Poetry Choice Board

I'd love to hear if your students use, and love, choice boards in the classroom. 
What activities do your students love the most?

Until next time,

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