One of the most powerful learning structures I utilized during the 2022-23 school year was that of digital choice boards. Using these templates from Write on With Miss G, I was able to easily and quickly differentiate for diverse learners and learning styles during what was probably the most difficult year of my career as an educator (and maybe for you as well as the second academic year of teaching through the pandemic was much harder than most of us ever anticipated).
Two things made it easy for me integrate and create Choice Boards at any time:
- Our school was 1:1 Chromebooks
- We utilized Canvas as our learning management system (LMS), and students were accustomed to going to our course page at the beginning of class as part of our warm-up or after our warm-up activity.
With my Choice Boards, I generally tried to provide 6 options:
- 2 easy and/or “fast learning” activities
- 2 “medium” challenge or complexity activities
- 2 that were more intensive in terms of time intensity or cognitive intensity
I also provided variations on hard copy “tickets” that allowed students to indicate their completed or attempted activities as well as a brief reflection on their learning (click here for an example).
Sometimes Choice Boards were content or skill specific; however, I also found these were super helpful as a medium for benchmark test review or a way of easing back into in the routine when returning from an extended holiday break. I included a variety of choices, including:
- Vocabulary work (we used Membean at my school)
- Independent reading time
- Task card work
- Graphic organizers
- Engaging analog learning activities disguised as fun (i.e. color by number grammar)
- Learning activities through TPTs Easel platform
- Creative activities such as poetry or story writing
- Graphic organizers
- Conferences with me about reading, writing, or a project
- Digital + Face to Games (Kaboom games I created, Gimkit games, or games (hard copy and digital) I purchased through TPT)
- Gallery walk of student work
- Partner or trio work
- Chalk talk/silent conversation activity
I tried to not do Choice Boards more than once every four to six weeks so that they felt fresh. With Abby’s templates, it was easy to quickly whip up a meaningful and engaging Choice Board that students could easily access.
Here are a few examples:
Because I have been using playlists and digital stations pretty heavily the last few years in my classroom, Choice Boards were an easy structure to incorporate though I began using them in late Spring of 2021 and then used them more regularly during 2022-23. Whatever your need, this learning structure provides variety, differentiation, engagement, and student agency. Choice boards can also be helpful when:
- Introducing a new unit of study.
- Completing a unit of study.
- Classroom life gets chaotic or overwhelming due to excessive student absences, challenging times of the academic year where students may be missing class due to testing or other academic requirements.
- Perhaps a day or two where you and the students just need to BREATHE and RESET.
I think this learning structure is a perfect fit for secondary classrooms and for any subject area. Are you using Choice Boards? I would love to hear how you integrate them into your classroom!