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  • Laurel Kirchhoff

It's all about choice! Choice Boards for student learning...

Choice Boards are nothing new...I distinctly remember my teachers handing out paper choice boards that resembled a tic-tac-toe board in school. My excitement at being able to "choose my own adventure" with an assignment was palpable. ("You mean I get to PICK what assignment I want to do? Seriously?!")


There is a lot of pedagogical research to support student choice for both acquisition of knowledge and demonstrating mastery. This article from Leadered.com discusses how to infuse both rigor and relevance into choice boards (please keep in mind it was written specifically for distance learning, but has a lot of very interesting ideas and concepts).



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As a teacher, I found choice boards very daunting. Not just because I had to create a whole bunch of assignments that fit the learning intentions and objectives, but then I also had to grade everything! I would have stacks of grading: piles of this infographic, stacks of that advertisement, Flipgrid videos to watch, etc. I would feel completely overwhelmed and grading seemed to take forever.



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However, I knew that student voice and choice was paramount to my student's learning and success. The question was, how could I do this in a way that was also manageable? Two things changed my life: "This or That" choice boards and grading using single point rubric.


"This or That" choice boards still provided choice for my students, but could also include learning acquisition choices, as well as demonstration of knowledge. It narrows down the choices as well. There are two choices for each section, making it more manageable to create and to grade. You can have as little as two choices or as many as you would like. They are also adaptable to meet student learning needs. I think of them as a mini-"HyperDoc;" they are very versatile and can be used in any way that you can think of with your lesson plans.


I didn't create the "This or That" format, but I did create this template that you are free to use, modify and share. (Please keep in mind that it is available under my Creative Commons license and I ask that my branding stays on, but feel free to modify everything else!) There are ideas listed for each section below the student boxes. Keep in mind, not all of the choices have to be digital. This is a great way to offer both online and offline choices that will best serve your students learning needs.



As for grading, I highly suggest you check out Jennifer Gonzalez's post in Cult of Pedagogy regarding both holistic and single-point rubrics. I found that single point rubrics helped keep me focused on what I truly needed my students to demonstrate with their learning from their choice boards. This kept me, as the teacher, focused on what my students really needed to learn and kept grading grounded. My students loved single point rubrics as well. I could give personalized praise ("glows") and constructive feedback ("grows"). While I didn't always use these rubrics, they did help me streamline and think about what I was truly grading: for student mastery of concepts and meeting learning objectives and intentions.


I would love to see how you adapt the "This or That" choice board to make it your own for your students! Share a picture and post it to Twitter-be sure to tag me (@LucyKirchh) and use the hashtag #MotivatEDMonday. I would love to see everyone's creativity and also share with our PLN!


-Lucy

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