Wednesday, January 20, 2021

4 Ways to Design Effective Choice Boards

Choice boards are a great way of infusing student choice and voice into your classroom. You might think of them as tic tac toe assignment boards; however, there are a variety of different formats to choose from:
  • Lists
  • Tic tac toe boards
  • Gameboards
  • Menus
  • Scavenger hunts

 

In my experience, effective choice boards have several things in common:

1. Goal-Oriented - effective choice boards are goal-oriented, meaning that they have a purpose and are aligned to measuring important skills and concepts. Check out my example of learning about Texas!



2. Engaging - choice boards are engaging, offer a balance of rigor and relevance paired with student autonomy and reflection. Check out my example of the 1893 World's Fair menu. 

3. Flexibility - effective choice boards are flexible in the product or process of learning. 

We are often familiar with something that is flexible in the product, meaning you have the option of creating a final product of your choice. Many students like the ability to have a flexible goal like this! For example, the following vocabulary choice board gives students the option to create a portfolio of the 3 best possible products for vocabulary practice. 


Sometimes you don't have the flexibility to create the product of your choice. Instead, you might have to offer students flexibility in the process. For example, students may have to write an essay; however, you could provide them with flexible ways of writing that essay. Perhaps students type or handwrite the essay, choose to use or not use a certain graphic organizer, or choose how they will edit their draft. Here is an example of a choice board that requires students to learn about a topic; however, they can choose from a variety of different formats to learn about it. 



4. Structured Choice - believe it or not, too much choice can be a bad thing! The sweet spot for student choice is between 2 and 9. A great way of offering student choice is to offer them choice on how they respond to a discussion question. For example, students may respond via text or a Flipgrid video. The idea is for students to have a choice in how they learn or show what they know. 


Conclusion

Choice boards are an excellent way for students to practice making choices. Whether it is determining the best strategy to write an essay or which product to create, choice is a powerful motivator. Remember, choice boards are goal-oriented and focus on meeting a standard, assessing student skills, or measuring student knowledge. Choice boards are engaging, offering structured choice and providing students flexibility in the product or process. 












Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Toy Theatre: Virtual Manipulatives for the Elementary Classroom

 I am a big fan of virtual manipulatives and hands-on learning opportunities for students in the classroom. When students have the opportunity to interact with content in different ways, it helps solidify abstract concepts into meaningful learning experiences. 

Toy Theatre is a great place to get virtual manipulatives and resources for a variety of subject areas geared towards the elementary classroom. 


If you are teaching virtually, Toy Theatre could provide a variety of learning options to help students learn multiplication and division, alphabetical order, symmetry, and more! Want to see this tool in action? Check out my video


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2 Minute Crash Course on Zoom Breakout Rooms

Want to step up your game on Zoom? Why not try creating Breakout Rooms? Breakout Rooms are a helpful way to break students out in discussion or instructional groups. One teacher that I know is creating a room for each of her students so that she can have one-on-one instruction with them. 

Need to learn how to do this fast? Check out my 2-minute tutorial below