Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Learning menu, Think Tac Toe...Whether it sounds delicious or fun, a choice board can go by many names.
Although it’s nothing new in the education world, choice boards are popping up in many teacher’s lesson plans this year in order to differentiate for their students.
It’s no surprise to teachers that a one-size-fits-all approach to learning doesn’t work in the classroom. This is more true than ever now that many teachers are doing remote learning or a hybrid model of in-person and online teaching.
If you’re looking to give your students more flexibility and freedom in how they learn, a choice board could be a great tool for your next unit. Read through our guide to learn what a choice board can look like, how to make your own and adapt it for your students.
The Benefits of a Choice Board
Sometimes as teachers, it’s nice to feel in control by giving everyone the same exact assignment. But what if you gave some of that control back to your students?
Think of a choice board as a type of graphic organizer that allows students to choose how they will learn a concept or demonstrate mastery at the end of a unit. Typically, a choice might be to answer a question or complete an activity.
The possibilities for what choices to include are endless and adaptable no matter what grade level or subject you teach! Whether you’re going over a book, math concept, or time period in history, your choice board can tackle the subject from all angles.
Most importantly, a choice board should provide options that target students’ multiple intelligences. While your choice board might have common activities like writing an essay, it could also include more atypical activities like drawing a picture, watching a video, or choreographing a dance!
We can all agree that it’s more motivating to do something you chose instead of something that’s been decided for you. Plus, students are more likely to internalize content if the activity is interesting to them or if they can make real-world connections.
Giving students choice is helpful and empowering. It also gives them more responsibility, something that could be a game-changer for remote learning where a teacher or parent isn’t always available to help out.
Choice Board Building 101
Making a choice board isn’t rocket science, but there’s room for being creative and you’ll have to think through what format is best for your students and topic.
The easiest place to start is by creating a 9-square grid and putting an activity in each square. You can then ask students to complete three choices in a row, column, or diagonally. Who wouldn’t love the feeling of crossing out those three squares Tic-Tac-Toe style?
Voice and Choice were on the menu today for our Quiz Review. @ShakeUpLearning Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Board in action. @SFMsharks @PersonalizeSC @quizlet @quizlet @edpuzzle @classtools #edtech #personalizedlearning #gafe Links in Comments. pic.twitter.com/eMwodpZlaQ— Courtenaye Johnson (@MrsCJohnsonSC) September 12, 2019
Ultimately, your choice board can be any size and require students to complete any number of choices. If there’s an activity that you want all students to do (like in the example above), just make sure that’s clear in your instructions.
Want to make your choice board more interactive and accessible? Put it online so that you can embed images or links to additional resources or edtech tools.
Many teachers love using Google Slides to make their choice boards look visually-appealing and professional. Remember how popular the Bitmoji Classroom trend was this year? That’s all thanks to them.
Google Slides gives you total freedom to get creative with your theme and add your own backgrounds and images. You could embellish your board based on what topic you’re covering or simply add a cartoon version for an extra laugh.
Choice Boards and Technology
We can all agree that we want to teach our students how to have a balanced relationship with technology. Choice boards can work to your advantage by blending opportunities for online tasks as well as offline tasks.
We like this History teacher’s diverse use of edtech and low-tech options:
Notice a familiar little yellow puzzle piece in that last example? Watching an Edpuzzle video is a great activity to include in your choice board.
Videos are proven to be a great way for students to learn new information because they incorporate different modalities (e.g. visuals, drawings, audio). No matter what strengths or skills your students have, they’ll appreciate having a video option.
On top of that, Edpuzzle lets you embed multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions to check for understanding and have students engage more with the content.
All of your students’ responses will automatically be recorded in the Gradebook feature, so you don’t have to worry about waiting on students to submit any extra documents once they’ve completed the video!
Excited to create a choice board for your next topic? Consider adding an Edpuzzle video and let us know how it goes on social media. We’d love to see it!