Over the last several years, I’ve been doing a lot of work in the areas of student engagement and differentiated instruction. Once aspect that stands out in both areas is the power of student choice. According to Kanevsky and Keighley, in their article entitled “To Produce or Not to Produce: Understanding Boredom and the Honor of Underachievement” (2003), choice ranks among the 5 characteristics of an optimal learning environment that students seek along with the aspects of control, challenge, complexity and caring. Choices are motivating to most people and we often make choices based on our personal preferences.
In the world of differentiation, choice also plays center stage and no other strategy illustrates this more than Choice Boards (also called Learning Menus, Think-Tac-Toes). Choice boards offer a menu of options for students that can vary in content, process, or product. They are most often constructed with varied learning styles and interests in mind. Choice boards can even be tiered so that advanced learners are steered toward more challenging choices and struggling learners toward more scaffolded choices.
Here is a link to my wiki called Dare to Differentiate where you will find a plethora of examples of choice boards in various formats (one of my favorites is the dinner menu) for various subject areas and levels. Also check out a new type of choice board I’ve recently found called the 2-5-8. On the wikipage, I have also linked to or uploaded examples of rubrics for choice boards along with multimedia examples of ways to deepen your knowledge on the topic.