Choice Menus come in different styles:
Simple List Menu
Weighted List Menu
Think Tac Toe Menu
Game Show Menu
Learning menu choice boards provide options for students. As teacher and author, AJ Juliani writes, “One of the basic tenets of differentiated instruction is that it allows a teacher to reach many students at different levels of understanding. By differentiating what we teach, and how we teach it, we are able to reach the entire classroom instead of the small group of students who are going to follow along with direct instruction. When we differentiate, we build the choices/options into our instruction, and conversely the learning process.”
Our goal as teachers is to figure out how to teach the same content through a student-choice of instructional experiences. Our objective is getting all students engaged and that means all students must have high attention and high commitment. One of the best and most manageable ways to do this is through choice boards and learning menus.
Here’s an example of what a “choice board” activity might look like:
The “Get to Know You Think Tac Toe” choice board provides learning activities a variety of formats and experiences. Here, they have the choice to go with what works best for them as a learner.
Author and educator Caitlyn Tucker writes about organizing a choice board menu.
“The classic 9 square model is ideal for a tic-tac-toe approach to a choice board that requires students to complete any three activities in a row across the board. Teachers can organize a choice board so that each column focuses on a particular skill or standard. Elementary teachers, who are teaching all subjects, may combine reading, math and vocabulary activities on a single board. On the other hand, a secondary teacher might design a board focused on one aspect of their curriculum, like reading or writing.
As teachers consider what types of activities to design, it’s important to keep differentiation in mind. Teachers can choose to differentiate by allowing students to decide:
- what they will produce.
- how they will engage with the information (learning modality).
- which level of complexity they are ready for.
- which activity appeals to their interests.
Caitlyn Tucker provides a template for a digital choice board using Google Documents on her blog. If you want to use this to design your own choice board, simply log into your Google account then go to “File” on this document and select “Make a copy.” It will automatically save to your Google Drive. When you design and share your choice board online you can include hyperlinks for students to visit and utilize educational digital apps and platforms.
If you want to break out of the tic tac toe style choice board, you might consider these different styles:
2-5-8 Menu and Dinner Menu choice boards are presented in a list providing options for students to complete. For the 2-5-8 Choice Menu students choose to complete two activities that total 10 points. See the example below for an outside reading assignment.
Check out this Dinner Menu example below. Students select three learning activities in each category to show their understanding and new knowledge.
Choice Board Menus are great assessment tools, learning activities, and planning out a unit of study. A game show Choice Board or Bingo Board can be utilized over the course of many weeks for students to complete the entire board or a one time learning activity where students choose a single row or column. For example, The Rowdy Math Teacher created a nine week game show menu for students to complete one activity from each column and accumulate a target number of points each week. Notice the free choices at the bottom. This allows students additional choice and opportunities to demonstrate their own creativity in the selection of tasks that are of interest to them.
Choice Boards provide students with the power to choose “how” to learn a particular subject or concept. This freedom encourages them to be more responsible, accountable and independent in their learning. It also allows them to work on the activities at their own pace.