There are three important pieces to engaging secondary students:
- Student Relationships
- Student Choice
- High Expectations
Building strong and intentional relationships is the most vital thing you can do to get high student achievement. It makes the learning more relevant and students more engaged. Students want to work for and learn from teachers they care about and like. Student choice and high expectations play into this as the other pieces of the puzzle. These two increase rigor while lowering the stress of learning difficult content. This post will take a closer look at student choice through choice boards in the secondary math classroom.
What are Choice Boards?
Traditionally, choice boards have been used for big projects or assessments with elaborate options and rubrics created for each option. We think of options like write a song or poem, create a PowerPoint presentation, make a video, etc. And these things are great, but choice boards do not have to be this involved. Any set of options students get to choose from is a choice board. Bottom line – if you are giving students a choice, it’s a choice board.
Want higher completion rates? Want higher student engagement? What about insight into what the student feels most confident in? Would you like built-in opportunities to differentiate? When you turn your homework or practice activity into a choice board, you can get all of these things! BIG WINS!
- FUN. Students find choice boards more fun than traditional practice.
- PERSONALIZED LEARNING. Choice boards personalize the work for them and they feel a real ownership of the work.
- PERSEVERANCE. Often, if a student starts a problem and they get stuck, they will give up. But with another option there, students will try a different one.
- MOTIVATES THEM TO DO MORE. When students are offered a choice, they will often choose to do more than the minimum requirement.
IMPLEMENTING CHOICE BOARDS
The easiest way to create a choice board in a secondary math class is to take a practice activity that you already have or use and alter the directions to give students options. For example, allow them to chose to complete the odd- or even-numbered questions. Or direct them to complete 3 problems from questions 1-10 and 4 problems from questions 11-20.
Another way is to take a choice board template and write your questions into the template. I use these from The Classy Teacher.
Or, save time creating your own and grab these Geometry choice board practice activities. If you would like a free sample of Geometry Choice Boards to try them in your classroom, click the button below!
Choice Board Ideas
Here are a few fun theme ideas for how to make a practice sheet a choice board.
This or That?
For each number, students chose either "This" question or "That" question to answer.
Add It Up!
Students choose from banks of questions worth different amounts based on their difficulty. They have to answer questions to add up to a teacher-given goal. They may do several simpler questions or few difficult questions.
Students select five questions in a row to answer. They may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Or add a bit of challenge and have them do two rows of different directions.
Tic Tac Toe
Students choose three problems is a row to complete a tic tac toe.
Like Bingo, but students chose four questions in a row to answer. They may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
Have fun adding choice into your classroom! For more ideas about increasing engagement, check out how I use task cards in my secondary math class.