Design Your Own Digital Choice Board

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:

  1. Differentiation
  2. Student choice
  3. Assessment

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.

Example Choice Board

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!

bit.ly/digitalchoiceboard

bit.ly/digitalchoiceboard

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!

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10 Responses to Design Your Own Digital Choice Board

  1. Jessica Cross says:

    Hello Catlin! My coworker told me about your blog post on choice boards, and she thought I would be able to contribute. I work as an EFL teacher in lower primary know Turkey. In second grade, we started using tic-tac-toe worksheets to make our spelling homework more interesting. You can find the link to two example worksheets below:
    1) https://drive.google.com/a/irmak.k12.tr/file/d/0B7SSEBN8vK10WWFPOUlYMVo3eTQ/view?usp=docslist_api

    2) https://drive.google.com/a/irmak.k12.tr/file/d/0B7SSEBN8vK10cGFaVFFEaUhGTVk/view?usp=docslist_api

    Hope this helps!

    PS: There is a spelling errors in the second worksheet. It should say blue consonants and red vowels. 😊

  2. Delphine Defever says:

    I’m anxious to try this in my classroom.

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  6. Catlin,

    This is awesome! I have been working on moving to a blended learning approach this year in my classroom, and the results have been fantastic. My concern, as I think is true with a lot of us, is that I needed to get over the whole “am I doing this right?” dilemna. I recently set up a lesson where the students were getting one teacher led station and two digital stations. The targeted skills were varied and the students loved it!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    Brian

    • I’m thrilled to hear your students are enjoying it, Brian! Don’t worry about whether or not you are doing it “right” because there are SO many ways to blend online and offline work. I’m sure you’re doing a fantastic job!

      Catlin

  7. Melissa Trevitt says:

    Hi Catlin,
    I have used tic-tac-toe boards for reading response for quite some time. I love the choice that it gives students when responding to literature. After reading your post about digital choice boards I was inspired to step mine up with some of the digital tools that we were already using in my blended classroom. Below is the link. I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or suggestions for improvement.
    Thanks,
    Melissa
    Calcutt Middle School
    Central Falls, Rhode Island

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Yv-dwjG0MEdBRH_7FNlB2H9BRn9fWSHwfBu6xOYNBtU/edit?usp=sharing

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