This week I had the pleasure of training a group of elementary teachers on blended learning strategies. As a group, they wanted to focus on:
- Student choice
One of the strategies we discussed with the potential to weave these three areas of focus together is a choice board. There are several different approaches to designing a choice board, but the goal is to allow students an opportunity to select the activities they will complete to practice a skill or demonstrate understanding.
The example above is a digital choice board I created using a Google Document. I encourage teachers to create their choice boards online, so they can embed images and hyperlink to additional resources or online tools.
Organizing a Choice Board
The classic 9 square model is ideal for a tic-tac-toe approach to a choice board that requires students complete any three activities in a row across the board. Teachers can organize a choice board so that each column focuses on a particular skill or standard. Elementary teachers, who are teaching all subjects, may combine reading, math and vocabulary activities on a single board. On the other hand, a secondary teacher might design a board focused on one aspect of their curriculum, like reading or writing.
As teachers consider what types of activities to design, it’s important to keep differentiation in mind. Teachers can choose to differentiate by allowing students to decide:
- what they will produce.
- how they will engage with the information (learning modality).
- which level of complexity they are ready for.
- which activity appeals to their interests.
Some teachers choose to color code the squares and encourage stronger students to tackle more challenging activities. While others prefer to assign points to each box based on how challenging that activity is in relation to the other options.
Below is a template for a digital choice board using Google Documents. If you want to use this to design your own choice board, simply log into your Google account then go to “File” on this document and select “Make a copy.” It will automatically save to your Google Drive!
As you design your digital choice board, it’s helpful to think about how you will assess the different activities on the board. In the training I facilitated this week, we talked about unconventional ways to assess student work. I shared the following strategies for assessing student work using technology:
- Ask students to record audio responses directly onto a Padlet Wall.
- Require students fill out a Google Form Exit Ticket.
- Set up a Socrative or Kahoot! quiz for them to take before leaving an activity.
- Allow students to record a short video/screencast explaining their process and/or product.
The choice board is not a new concept in education, but it is a great way to differentiate, prioritize student choice, and build in alternative forms of assessment.
If you’ve created a choice board you’ve had success with, please consider sharing it!