What are Choice Boards?
Choice boards are typically laid out in a 3×3 grid much like a tic-tac-toe board. With a choice board, students can choose a set number of assignments to complete. Depending on your goals, allow your students to complete 1 assignment on the choice board or create a pattern like tic-tac-toe.
Choice Boards Give Students Autonomy
Students, especially middle school students like to “be in charge” and have their voices heard. By giving students choices you allow them to voice their opinion and make their preferences known. This is why I love choice boards. One of my favorite ways to use a choice board is by allowing students to “choose their own adventure.” With this method, students can choose any three options on the choice board without restriction. It is rare that students are given this much freedom in the classroom and this method reassures them that they get to decide something, even if it’s just the choices on an assignment.
Choice Board Embrace Students’ Strengths
Every student in your class has certain strengths and preferences. Your students’ strengths may not be readily apparent to you as a teacher. But, through choice boards, you are able to really get a sense of what your students enjoy. For your artists, allow them to make a poster. Do you have students who love to talk? Allow them to create a podcast. For those actors who love being in front of the camera, they can make a video. The possibilities are truly endless.
By assigning your students a choice board, they can embrace their strengths and “show off” through activities they truly enjoy. If you aren’t sure where to start, start with simple options: posters, dioramas, a written response, and a commercial. Each of these activities will appeal to different students. Then, as your students complete more choice boards and you get to know them, you can tailor your choice boards to the types of activities they enjoy.
Choice Boards Allow You To Learn More About Your Students
Building relationships with your students is one of the most important things you can do as a teacher. By giving students choices gives them the opportunity to express themselves, you are building trust and a relationship with them. For example, who knew the quiet student in your 4th period class was an amazing rapper?! By giving him the choice to complete an assignment in a way that truly resonates with him, you are building a classroom where students respect and feel comfortable with each other. It allows them to express themselves through their talents and abilities while also completing an assignment for school. I call that a win-win.
Choice Boards Allow For Collaboration
If your class is anything like mine, when you allow students to form groups, they will always choose the same few partners. By using choice boards, you can give students the opportunity to partner up based on the activities they want to complete. For example, if you have several artists in your class, they may choose to pair up with someone else they know can draw well so they can create the type of project that interests them most. This gives students the opportunity to network with new people and build relationships with their classmates. When students decide to work with other classmates, they can create new friendships and help strengthen the class community.
Choice Boards Allow Students to Show Off!
Every middle school student wants the opportunity to show off, whether it’s publicly or privately. Even the shyest student wants to know that his/her efforts are seen and appreciated. In my classroom, I like to give students the ability to show their talents through a classroom gallery walk. Once students have completed their choice board assignment, they can display it around the room. Then students are allowed to go around and look at each other’s work. Each student is given three sticky notes. As they tour the classroom, I have them give several of their classmates positive comments and reviews on their assignments.
If you have never used a choice board in your classroom, now’s the chance. Give your students the chance to show off their talents and see the difference it makes in your classroom community. Grab this free choice board today!
Are you looking for resources you can use today in your middle school science classroom? Check out my resources on TeachersPayTeachers here.