A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to move at their own pace and have choice over what they learn and how they interact with the content. Students are able to choose which activity they are most comfortable completing first, master that activity, and then can move to other activities on the choice board. Choice boards can take several different formats, but all choice boards are focused on students’ specific learning needs, interests, and skills. Choice boards can be easily adapted across all grade levels and content areas. The choice board strategy can be used to present your students with new information, to have students practice and master academic content, to assess student mastery, or as a combination of all three. Choice boards increase student ownership and provide you with opportunities to differentiate and support students at their individual learning levels.
Prior to implementing choice boards, it is important that you strategically plan for implementation by completing the following:
Determine what modifications students may need to be successful with the choice board.
Review the EL Modification and Special Education Modification sections below for support.
Now that you have created your choice board, it is time to implement it with students.
Have students complete a designated number of assignments from the choice board.
After you begin implementing choice boards, consider the following:
After engaging in reflection, determine any changes and go through the planning and implementation steps again.
Choice boards are a great option for students with disabilities because they allow the integration of activities that are appropriate for these specific learners while still giving them choice.
Effective use of choice boards require a variety of skills: emotional regulation, executive functioning (task initiation, prioritization, working memory, etc.), written expression, reading, and/or verbal skills. In order to support students with disabilities who have difficulty in these areas consider the following modifications:
Use visual aids, timers, and verbal reminders to help students with task initiation and task completion when using choice boards. As an example, a teacher may say, “Now you will have 30 seconds to choose your first activity number on your choice board. After the timer for 30 seconds goes off, everyone will have five minutes to complete your first activity.”
If multiple teachers are present in a setting, consider having one teacher work in a small group of students with disabilities to provide them more modeling and more frequent feedback during their practice.
Choice boards are a wonderful way to engage English learners in choosing how they will practice skills. Learners are granted the opportunity to follow their own path and teachers are able to differentiate activities based on students' needs.
English learners using choice boards are required to listen to and follow directions. Students may use all four domains of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening to interact with the activities on their choice boards. In order to support English Learners consider the following modifications:
Not sure what type of choice board to use in your classroom? Check out this video to help you decide!
What is the goal of the choice board?
Are the activities at the student’s developmental level?
What could be challenging about this activity and how could you address these challenges in advance?
How could you ensure that students are getting consistent feedback throughout the unit?
What types of activities and assessments could you create for the choice board?
What activities could you choose to represent various learning styles?
How could you support students to understand their learning style?
How will you support students to make choices that are best for them?
If you'd like to learn more about implementing choice boards into your lessons, you can review the lesson plans below.
To learn more about how different teachers have approached using choice boards in their classrooms, you can read these BetterLesson blogs.
For more information on choice boards, explore the resources linked below.
Strategies That Differentiate Instruction (Source: Kentucky Department of Education)
Impact of Student Choice and Personalized Learning (Source: Hanover Research)