A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows you to give your students options in their learning activities. It is a great way to incorporate activities that appeal to different learning styles or multiple intelligences and gives students a sense of ownership over their learning. There are various ways to set up a choice board, but it typically consists of 9 squares (although you can have any number you wish) and students choose one square or some combination of squares as designated by the teacher. For example, a tic-tac-toe style choice board is popular, in which each square has one activity and students must select three activities that form a line on the board.
For templates and guides to get started as well as sample choice boards, check out Dare to Differentiate.
Many people tend to think of math in very black and white terms: you get problems, you give answers, you learn a skill, you do drills, etc. Choice boards would be a great way to put the learning in the hands of the students and make learning math more flexible and enjoyable. Choices for any math concept could include: writing a song, draw an infographic, create a comic, write a poem or story, create questions, complete a brainteaser or challenge, perform a skit, or create a game. Students will naturally choose the options that feel most comfortable to them and that’s how they will learn the best.
Not only do the students benefit by having the choice, the teachers can benefit as well. It becomes a great opportunity to learn from your students – they will come up with things you don’t expect and will use what you learn in the years to come. Seeing what your students choose will also help you get a better understanding of their learning style and preferences which you can use to differentiate instruction.
Have you used choice boards in your classroom? What are some other pros/cons?