Jul 2, 2019

This or That? Classroom Choices

Everyday, there are choices to be made.  
For the most part, we like to have choices.
For kids, it's no different.  At my school, students get to make a lunch choice with 4 options.  Sometimes, that is even a struggle for a few!   Choices and Decision Making go hand-in-hand and should extend the mere daily lunch choice...for several reasons.
I love giving my students a Choice Board or a Learning Menu.  
The way I see it is this....
1.  They get to make decisions about their learning.
2.  They will be more enthusiastic when they see that their decisions matter.
3.  I see it as a win/win, because I have certain activities that I choose for them to do, and then they get to make their own decisions also.  So I get what I want and so do they!
So what are choice boards and learning menus?
My choice boards are set up in a grid...a graphic organizer, basically.  I have found it works with both subjects that I personally teach (ELA and S.S.) but it most definitely can work for other subjects too!
I usually give nine choices.  At times, I give the students a certain amount of choices they must make from the choice board.  Sometimes, I have them do it like Tic-Tac-Toe to where they have to do three activities in a row...sometimes, I just say ANY 3 on the board...no particular order.  Sometimes, I give them "must-do's" and then they have a set amount to choose.

So let's use Reading as an example.  
Novels are a big part of teaching reading for me. With that, we do lots of vocabulary, reading skills, projects, and such.  There are some activities that I feel that are best to teach, reinforce, and provide good practice than others, so those are the ones that I intentionally choose.  However, the other choices I provide for them to make choices from aren't just "busy work".  They also lend themselves to reinforcing concepts/skills that I've taught.  Granted, some are just "funner" than others...and FUN is GOOD!  

If you want to create your own choice board....then I would recommend the following.
If you are going to choose some and let them choose some, make sure the ones YOU choose reinforce the skills and lend good practice for them!
Activities should be differentiated so there is something for everyone!
When having them take a "tic-tac-toe" approach, put the activity that seems the funnest in the center space.

If you'd like to try some choice boards or learning menus, but you aren't comfortable making your own just yet, then you can pick up this one for FREE at my TpT store... here.  
I sure hope this has helped someone!

Summer Blessings,

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