By: Monica Bega, @MonicaBega
¨I don’t like _____.¨ How many times do you hear that in your classroom? Chances are you hear it more often than you realize. So how do you change that response to different activities? How do you keep students engaged and learning? Through student choice and voice!
You´re probably thinking that I am crazy to suggest giving your students more choice, however, if students have some say and control in their learning do you think they may resist less? By no means am I saying let it turn into a free for all and let them choose whatever they want, whenever they want, that would lead to chaos. The trick is to preselect activities for them and present them in such a way that they get to choose what they will work on and in what order. Introducing the digital choice board!
So what exactly is this digital choice board? A choice board takes activities/assignments that are digital and puts them all in one place for students to work through. You are in control of what goes into the choice board! The students get to choose what they want to do and in what order. So, what do you put in your choice board? This is the fun part, you can pick whatever you want. My current grade level/content is 2nd grade Math and Science, so I am going to pick activities that I know they can do mostly independent or in a small group. I love to use digital resources such as EdPuzzle, Flipgrid, BrainPOP, Quizizz, SMART Learning Suite Online, or Google Forms/Slides. Having videos is always a hit so I like to use Flocabulary or occasionally YouTube. If I am going to include games then I will go to ABCya or PBS Kids and then I will use Prodigy, Education Galaxy, or STEMscopes as well. Depending on what grade level you teach and your content area you may use different things. I know next year, when I am teaching 4th grade Science and Social Studies, I will use tons of other resources as well.
How does incorporating a digital choice board into the classroom look? Well there are many different ways you can use them. They are good for stations/small groups, independent work and I have even seen them used for days when there is a sub! One thing I try to avoid is using them for fast finishers or as a reward, because then it starts to take the choice of out it since not everyone gets to use them. If there is some way that I can incorporate a choice board, I try to do so because the students love having control in their learning, it is different from just ¨sit and get¨, and it is fun for them!
As a side note, Flipgrid is a great way for them to also share their voice about student choice! I love Flipgrid because it makes it easier for them to share with a bigger audience, they can respond to each other, they can have so much fun with it. One of my favorite things to ask them to share is ¨What would you like to see on the next choice board?¨ Let’s face it, these kids use so many digital devices that they know plenty of techy things that I don´t and so they know of games/activities that I haven’t heard of. So what a better way for them to share them! I will check out their suggestions, confirm they are school appropriate and go with our learning, and then I include them, and they love seeing their suggestion pop up on a choice board!!
So, if you are looking for a way to add more choice into your room, try creating a digital choice board! Feel free to check out one of my boards and make it your own!!
– Monica Bega
I am Monica Bega, a teacher in the panhandle of Texas! I started my career in education as a paraprofessional while I finished my degree and certification. I was lucky to be at my current school (Nat Williams) when a position in 2nd grade opened mid-year just after I had finished and spoke with my principal who was happy to hire me! I spent my time in 2nd grade teaching Math and Science. I am now headed to 4th grade where I will be teaching Science and Social Studies! I love being a teacher and being with my students! I love learning new practices, strategies, and other things that I can incorporate into my classroom and decided I wanted to share some of what I do with fellow teachers!