Tag Archives: choice menu boards

A Curated List of Hyperdocs, Playlists, & Choice Boards Presented at #ISTELive21

Playlists, Hyperdocs, & Choice Boards . . . What’s the difference?

Playlists are a series of activities focused on specific content and matched to student needs. The intent of playlist-based instruction is to differentiate instruction while providing students control over various aspects of learning, including path, pace, or modality. 

Hyperdocs are interactive digital documents where all components of a learning cycle have been pulled together into one central hub. Within a single document, students are provided with hyperlinks to all of the resources they need to complete that learning cycle.

Choice Boards or Learning menus as Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning defines “are a form of differentiated learning that gives students a menu or choice of learning activities. It is simply a menu of choices from which students can choose. Student choice is the big idea behind learning menus and choice boards.”

Here is a list of different playlists, choice boards, and hyperdocs I have created in the past three years for middle school students (and showcase at edtech conferences). Feel free to make a copy of these and adapt for your own classroom use. Please be sure to credit those whose materials you are using, adapting, and borrowing. 

Humanities:

Anti Asian Hate Now & Then: Parallels W/Japanese Internment & WW2 

WW2 & The Holocaust

World War II Military

The History & Fiction of Hunters on Amazon Prime

19th Amendment Centennial

Literature & ELA:

Animal Farm Week One & Week Two 

Raymond’s Run Hyperdoc

Ransom of the Red Chief Hyperdoc

Poetry Choice Boards

Mystery Writing

Social Justice Choice Menu

Movie Viewing & Media Literacy:

Black Panther Origins (Pre-Viewing Guide) & Viewing 

Black Panther Movie Analysis Choice Board

Twilight Zone

Getting to Know Your Students:

Get to Know You Think Tac Toe (Choice Board)

Link to Slide Deck

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Choice Boards for Learning & Student Engagement

Choice Menus come in different styles:

Simple List Menu

Weighted List Menu

Think Tac Toe Menu

2-50-80 Menu

Game Show Menu

Themed 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.

Click on the image to see the document in Google Docs or make a copy for yourself

Check out this Dinner Menu example below. Students select three learning activities in each category to show their understanding and new knowledge.

Click on the image to see the document in Google Docs or make a copy for yourself

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.

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4 Tips for Building Peloton Style Choice Boards

The following post was written as a guest post for Ditch That Textbook. You can also read the full post on the Ditch That website.

Peloton is a fitness powerhouse brand. It started with a bike connected to a monitor back in 2012 and now has expanded its equipment, subscription fitness classes, and apparel business into a successful lifestyle brand. Whether you are one of the multi-million passionate users or not, educators can take lessons from Peloton’s business model and the fitness instructors themselves in order to spread happiness and deep learning into our classrooms remotely and in person.

Our job as teachers is to inspire and lead our students to success. Playlists, choice boards and hyperdocs are part of the blended learning model that help create active student learner opportunities. We can use our playlists and hyperdocs like Peloton instructors to personalize, connect, and embrace our community members – our students. 

Here are four tips for building Peloton style choice boards

1. Create thought provoking learning experiences

Instructor: Ally Love

Ally Love (@allymisslove) is one of the most diverse instructors  in her music and classes. She is “thoughtful, thorough, and tough.” My favorite classes are her “Sunday’s With Love” because she states,  “it is about movement that is thought provoking.” Her motto is “if it is hard  – good.”

As teachers we want to create learning experiences that are thought provoking and thorough. When designing your playlist or choice board choose thematic activities that get students thinking like Ally Love. Create learning opportunities that allow students to explore, reflect, and dig deep into a topic.  

Check out this hyperdoc created for the Centennial of the 19th Amendment that provides students opportunities for students to listen, view, and learn about a topic so they can evaluate and reflect on how this information impacts the decisions and actions they make today. 

Here are four tips for building Peloton style choice boards

1. Create thought provoking learning experiences

Instructor: Ally Love

Ally Love (@allymisslove) is one of the most diverse instructors  in her music and classes. She is “thoughtful, thorough, and tough.” My favorite classes are her “Sunday’s With Love” because she states,  “it is about movement that is thought provoking.” Her motto is “if it is hard  – good.”

As teachers we want to create learning experiences that are thought provoking and thorough. When designing your playlist or choice board choose thematic activities that get students thinking like Ally Love. Create learning opportunities that allow students to explore, reflect, and dig deep into a topic.  

Check out this hyperdoc created for the Centennial of the 19th Amendment that provides students opportunities for students to listen, view, and learn about a topic so they can evaluate and reflect on how this information impacts the decisions and actions they make today. 

2. Learn to lean into the discomfort

Instructor: Tunde Oyeneyin

Tunde Oyeneyin (@tune2tunde) is one of the newer instructors for spinning and her “Speak Up Ride” on June 3, 2020 is a must for everyone as it reflects on our turbulent times today. Tunde wants you to “lean into the discomfort” as she speaks up and out about racism, white privilege, and moving forward together. This ride is so powerful, I want to emulate powerful lessons that are grounded in our everyday lives like her. Another thing about Tunde’s rides is that she talks about her 70 pound weight loss and how she did it in micro-steps.

Many of our students come into our classrooms looking to make giant leaps in reading, writing, and thinking. Tunde reminds her riders that if we want to see growth, every baby step we make will lead to bigger gains. When curating your playlist, provide smaller steps for everyone to reach success. Moving from point A to point B might require some students to choose one path and another student go a different route.  

Choice boards can be simplified for students by the number of selections and modifications in order to accommodate diverse learning styles, needs, interests, and skills. Choice is important. On this Dystopian playlist there are required tasks and then a few added opportunities for students to level up if they choose.  

3. Set your students up for success.

Instructors: Cody Rigsby and Jess King

Speaking of modifications and scaffolding, Cody Rigsby (@codyrigsby) and Jess King @jesskingnyc) will tell you that they are “setting up for success.” Teachers need to do the same  for  students, set students up for success and modify  with no pressure. Additionally,  Jess and Cody always bring fun and surprise to each class. The popular songs these instructors include on their playlists set the pace for the class. 

Take cues from Cody and Jess by adding a little fun and games to your playlist with VR field trips, Kahoots, and collaborative activities. Peloton has started introducing rides that couple instructors together for double the engagement – learning is not an isolated event or experience and when we are designing choice boards and playlists, don’t leave out collaborative opportunities.

This  vocabulary HyperDoc was created for teachers to help understand the role of vocabulary in content area classrooms. After teachers were able to explore and reflect, they collaborated to create a product to share with the whole group their new understanding.

4. Offer activities that honor student voice and agency 

Instructor: Christine D’Ercole

Christine D’Ercole’s  (@iamicaniwillido) catchphrase is, “I am. I can. I will. I do.”– Enough said. Christine is a pro track cyclist who is all about changing your inner monologue and empowering you to love yourself.  Many of her rides she will tell you “it is not about the leaderboard or the numbers, but the fact that you are here.” I associate this with number and letter grades because so many of our students use number and letter grades to define who they are.

Christine reminds riders not to focus on the numbers. Similarly, let’s move away from too many tasks that distract from real learning. Offer activities that honor student voice and agency.  This poetry playlist allows students to choose which assignments they want to complete.  Students are empowered when they are given choice and know their voice will be heard. 

These are only a few of the teachers you will meet through Peloton, there are so many others who are just as awesome and provide engaging opportunities both physically and mentally. Peloton’s recipe for success comes from its instructors and the Peloton community. We all get on our bikes and treads for different reasons but our instructors have us coming back for more.

As teachers we are committed to our students, building a safe classroom community where students come back because they are engaged, empowered, and inspired. Like Peloton, we can create opportunities for our students to discover their true potential through the power of playlists and blended learning opportunities.  

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Distance Learning Book Clubs

As we continue to move forward with remote learning I am planning a World War 2 reading unit for the upcoming month. Thinking about how to get books into my students hands and continue to encourage them to read and reflect is my objective. I have reorganized my teaching to support all the learners in my classroom remotely and virtually.

The reading unit is grounded in choice. Students choose which book they want to read about WW2. To build background knowledge students are immersed in multimodal text sets reading and viewing nonfiction articles primary sources, photographs, videos, and movies about the time period.

To make sure that we get books in every student’s hands, my special education teacher and I will be reading aloud from one of the book every day on Google Meet for a live read aloud and also recording the read alouds for students to access on Google Classroom. The school librarian has made available many of these books as Ebooks for students to borrow the books and a handful of students will purchase their own books on Kindles, paper copies, or audio books.

WW2 Reading Choices

As students are reading the different texts they will respond in writing, discussion on  Flipgrid, and collaborating on Google Jamboards – collaborative whiteboards students can edit and add observations and insights – thanks to @tarahtesmer for the insights.

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Each week students will focus their reading on a particular topic or theme to help develop thinking and theories about their reading. For example, the first week of reading students will focus on characterization:

On a Google Doc, write a letter to the protagonist in your book in which you describe explain why you admire or do not admire the protagonist. 

In your letter, be sure to describe the characteristics of the protagonist in response to the war. Identify whether they are an upstander, bystander, ally or target. 

Be sure to include throughout your letter four (4) textual citations (including page numbers) that contain noteworthy information to support your reasoning. I provide students with a template to help get started and an exemplar to aim for.

Also, as students read deeper into their books I hope students will make connections between the hatred, bias, and violence that spread during WW2 and the hatred that has been on the rise around the world today. Students will research the rise of hate groups today.  After completing a Venn Diagram, students write a one page (double spaced, 12 point font) reflection that parallels to the events that took place around the world during WW2 in Europe and America after Pearl Harbor – as presented in your book and the rise of hate today. Students will use key information and direct textual evidence to address what social conditions would be necessary for hate groups to grow today. What they believe would be the most likely basis of another world war: pride, nationalism, fear, racism, economic interests, or religious intolerance? Here are two links to kick start research: 

NY Times Article “Over 1,000 Hate Groups Are Now Active in United States” 

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

Throughout the current educational climate of distance and remote learning my goal is to continue to help students develop rich literacy lives, promote critical thinking, and make connections.

What are you working on with your students to do the same? Share the reading units you are working on during remote learning in the comments section on this blog and also we always want to know the strategies and tools you are getting the most at to support literacy learning.

 

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Word Wizards, Word Nerds, & the Importance of Vocabulary in the Content Areas

What are the essential vocabulary words necessary for students to succeed in your classroom? This can be discipline specific vocabulary or academic vocabulary. For example, you could not possibly comprehend a social studies chapter on the geography of Africa if you do not know the meanings of the words “desert,” “savannah,” and “rainforest.”

Vocabulary is at the heart of the content areas we teach.  Each content has its own vocabulary unique to the understanding of the content material taught.  Most researchers would agree that you improve an individual’s vocabulary knowledge and comprehension through students immersed in a wide variety of reading and writing activities. 

There is no one method for teaching vocabulary. Rather teachers need to use a variety of methods for the best results, including intentional, explicit instruction of specific vocabulary words. Teachers can also encourage creative approaches to spark enthusiasm. 

As a content area teacher, vocabulary is intertwined with reading and understanding a text. As a teacher, your task is to devise a way of teaching vocabulary in a way that does not interfere with students’ enjoyment and interest of a text. Each of our content areas has specific content area vocabulary that is necessary in building understanding of our disciplines. In the TEDx Sonoma County talk from Dr. Kelly Corrigan, “Reading Matters, Vocabulary Matters” she addresses how “word learning is a way to understand concepts more deeply, connect to topics and information intentionally, approach challenging words with strategies good readers use to make sense of complicated texts, and to transfer this understanding into consumption and creation” (Shaelynn Farnsworth).

 

I want my graduate students to understand the importance of teaching vocabulary in the content areas and be able to design and create word enriched lessons for their classrooms. I designed a vocabulary Hyperdoc and Choice Board to help them meet these objectives. This choice board is designed with three (3) rows and three (3) columns. Students choose one activity per row (Learn, Dig Deep, Apply) and track your understanding on the KUD Sheet. Vocabulary Choice Board

The KUD note catcher allows students to show what they Know, Understand, and can Do.

K: What Students Should KNOW

This includes information that can be acquired through memorization, such as facts or categories of facts, dates, names of people or places, names and details of important events, definitions of terms or concepts, academic vocabulary, steps in a process, or rules.

U: What Students Should UNDERSTAND

An understand goal is an insight, truth, or “a-ha” that students should gain as a result of acquiringcontent and skills. An understand goal represents an idea that will last beyond a single lesson or unit—it has staying power. An understand goal often makes a statement about or connects concepts. A concept is a broad abstract idea, typically one to two words, under which various topics and facts can fit (Erickson, 2002). They can be general or discipline-specific.

D: What Students Should DO

A do goal articulates skills that students should master. These can be thinking skills, organizational skills, habits of mind, procedural skills, or skills associated with a discipline (e.g., science, cartography, mathematics).

Have engaging vocabulary activités in your content area, share them in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Techerentiation: Differentiating with Technology

I have created a new word:  Techerentiation

It means to differentiate with technology.  Differentiation is a buzzword in the education world.  Teachers are being asked to provide alternative ways to help student learn.  Differentiation provides students with choices or options based on their readiness, interests, and learning styles (think multiple intelligences).  Teachers differentiate content, process, and product.

Techerification also differentiates content, process, and product but is technology centered. Techerentiation involves choices for students.  Students are given choices to make personal decisions how they want to complete to demonstrate what they have learned but the choices are all technology based.  “By giving students choice, teachers promote a sense of independence and provide opportunities of personal challenge and creativity” (Peterson, 2011).

Below is a techerentiated assignment created for my Rock History class.  Students received a Menu Choice Board in which they had to choose one project in each of the different meal choices.

Appetizers included pinning a landmark on a Rock and Roll Landmark Map created using Google Maps or to add a resource to an annotated Rock and Roll History Resource List compiled in Google Docs.

The main course students could choose between creating a rock and roll musical tree of influence using an online mapping tool like Popplet or bubbl.us.  Students would have to map out the different musical influences of a particular artist going back as far as five or six generations of influence.  Or, students could choose to compile resources for a particular theme or decade in music history using Livebinders.

For dessert, all students were to complete the Rock and Roll Bingo Trivia Hunt.  For an A students had to complete the entire bingo board and get the entire bingo board correct.  For a B students completed four rows or columns and for a C students had to complete three rows or columns.

 

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