We all know the power of student choice, but perhaps you’re not as familiar with the power of choice boards! One thing that I like to remind everyone is that choice boards for students can be an incredibly powerful tool. I’m all about classroom tools and resources that make my life easier, and this is definitely one of them. But, before you start using choice boards in your classroom, let’s talk about why you should use them.
What are choice boards for students?
Choice boards are typically worksheets or digital files that contain multiple activity choices on one page. They are typically arranged inside of a table or in a “menu” type format.
Within the table, students are given various options of activities. There are several ways that it can be set-up. You can mix and match content areas or keep it related to one area, like math. You can review across various units or keep the activities focused on one skill. Honestly, the options are endless.
You may require students to complete all the activities on the choice board or pick a certain number of activities to complete.
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How can choice boards help your students learn more effectively?
The most effective part of choice boards is right in the name: choice. There is a strong power in choice. Let’s make it personal for a moment. Think about a time that you or your family member were bickering about chores. Maybe you needed to clean the dishes, but you really didn’t want to. It’s hard to be in a good mood about it.
But, if someone said, “Would you rather do the dishes or clean the bathrooms?” Now, you have some power. Maybe you REALLY hate cleaning the bathrooms, so suddenly, the dishes sound like a killer deal. Or you got to trade out the dishes for a better task.
The same goes for choice in our classroom. When our students have options, they can feel better, happier, and more engaged in the work they do. By putting the power in their hands, we also give them responsibility over their learning – which is a key skill that I know so many teachers wish their students were better with. Well, they can’t get better unless we hand over the responsibility!
The Benefits of using Choice Boards – for Students and Teachers
I’ve started talking about a few benefits to using choice boards, but I want to give you a few more reasons (in case you still need convincing)!
#1 Student Engagement – As we talked about, choice has real power. Students are more interested in things they feel they can control and have a say in.
#2 Low-Prep – Creating a choice board is so easy…you might think you’re cheating (especially if you use my pre-made choice boards). The hardest part is coming up with the various activities. The rest is pretty simple.
#3 Various Activities – This goes with the whole aspect of choice, but with choice boards, students aren’t stuck doing the same activity for an entire class period. They can try out different activities and problems, which also wards off boredom.
#4 Teacher Time – While your students are engaged and working on their choice boards, you can pull students into small groups and offer more individualized support.
Want ready-to-go choice boards? I have a ton made already for elementary school students! You can check out my science boards, math boards, and holiday boards! They are perfect for grades 3rd – 5th.
I highly recommend that if you want to try out some choice boards – check out the Free Resource Library on my page. It’s also known as The Tea Party.