How To Use Digital Choice Boards In The Classroom
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Choice boards are a powerful tool for engaging different kinds of learners and keeping students engaged with lesson content–which means strategies for creating digital choice boards might be useful?
For those just now joining the bandwagon, a choice board is a grid of activities that students can choose from. They are exceptional at promoting active learning and allow teachers to cater to different learning styles and needs at the same time.
How Can I Use Digital Choice Boards Online For Remote Learning and In-Person Classes?
With many classes now given online, many teachers are looking for ways to bring their favorite tool with them by sharing them in class websites, LMSs and video calls. This list of 16 strategies for using choice boards in the classroom also includes ways to use them effectively in the digital classroom for those using a distance learning model.
Click on each number in the infographic here for an explanation of each strategy.
16 Strategies For Using Digital Choice Boards In The Classroom
1. Start Small
You can always add rows or columns for next year’s class or the following unit. A 3×1 choice board is better than not having choices!
2. Consider Learning Style Variations
Make sure you have options for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners whenever possible. All learners will benefit from interacting with lesson materials in different ways.
3. Add Audio Explanations
Adding audio to your choice boards, especially for those shared on online platforms, is a nice way to help students feel you close to them.
4. Choose A Point System (Or Grading/Feedback Approach)
If your activities vary in the amount of effort and time they require, you may wish to assign different point values to each one and have students complete enough activities to reach a determined point value. If all your activities are similarly demanding, you can simply ask students to choose a certain number of total activities to complete.
5. Try Tic-Tac-Toe
One fun way to set up your choice board is as a 3×3 grid where students must perform a set of activities to ‘get’ Tic-Tac-Toe. You can add a ‘Free choice square’ in the middle so that students can choose from all the squares for that activity.
6. Keep Everything In The Same Place
You’ll reduce clutter and confusion by inserting videos, images, and other resources within your board instead of sending students to external sites. These windows that open up are an example of how to do so.
7. Use Breakout Rooms
Use breakout rooms to guide students through a choice board activity during a live video call class. If working with a standard 3×3 grid, break your activities into 3 groups of three (by rows on the board) and have students choose 1 activity from each group.
Start with row one and write the first activity in the chat before asking students to leave a comment if they want to be in that room. Do this for the first 3 activity options and break students into rooms by looking at their comments. Then, repeat this for the 2nd and 3rd groups of activities. It’s a good idea to visit each group and post their task there as a reminder when they’re starting.
For additional reading, see What Are Zoom Breakout Rooms?
8. Let Students Create Their Own Choice Boards
Have students create their own: Divide your students into groups of 3-5 students, and have each group create a review activity for your lesson. Then combine their activities into a template like this one to create a choice board that the class can use.
9. Make It A Team-Building Activity
Place students into pairs and ask that they complete the entire board between the two of them. Make sure there’s no bullying here! Each student must take on both difficult and easy activities. In a 3×3 board, have each student choose 4 activities and leave out the one they like least.
10. Leave Time For A Class Share Or Reflection
When creating your lesson plan, reserve 10-15 minutes for students to share their favorite activity when they finish.
11. Get Feedback From Students
In share time have each student tell you which activity they liked the most and which seemed the least interesting to them. Use this feedback to improve your board for coming years or units.
12. Keep It Compelling And Creative
Get creative! Consider assigning social media formats in the board with prompts such as “choose two characters from this book and write 3 tweets for each with responses in the comments from the other character” or “create a 3 square Instagram feed for this historical event.” If you’re not social media savvy run your idea by a friend or coworker who is!
Teachers who swear by choice boards keep inventing new ways to use them to teach new materials as well as to review lessons. The more you know about how to put together a choice board and how to use them in the classroom, the more return you’ll get from your time investment.
Other Quick Strategies For Using Digital Choice Boards In The Classroom
13. Organize your content
Keep a list of tasks grouped by theme, topic, standard, or any other concept you’d like. Maybe even tag your curriculum. Then, when you want to create a digital choice board, you already have the ingredients ready. It’s like prepping for a meal ahead of time. : )
14. Use Learning Taxonomies
Use each quadrant to represent a level of complexity or Bloom’s Taxonomy or by using Bloom’s Taxonomy Questions.
15. Use a Google Docs
With more time, you can create beautiful and personalized choice boards with audio, video, unique scoring systems, and more. But in a pinch, a simple Google Doc with a basic table 2 x 2 table is technically a digital choice board and, with the right options given, work well.
16. Consider Combination Learning
You can also fill your choice boards with learning blends–combinations of ‘ingredients’ designed to promote mastery of content while letting students have agency, choice, and open-ended opportunity for sustained creativity.
A Last Word Regarding Digital Choice Boards In Your Classroom
While it’s sometimes said that failing to plan is planning to fail, using digital choice boards in the classroom doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t overthink it! Choose your favorite strategies and get started making your choice board! Your students will thank you for giving them creative opportunities to choose how they want to learn.
Teachers who swear by them are inventing new ways to use them to teach new materials as well as to review lessons. The more you know about how to put together a choice board and how to use them in the classroom, the more return you’ll get from your time investment.
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