(Choice Boards that are perfect for differentiating instruction)
I recently started using choice boards in my classroom during our reading workshop time and I LOVE it!
A choice board is a selection of activities that students must complete mixed in with a few activities that are optional. These activities are organized on a chart (picture a bingo board). What makes it a choice board is that students can 1. choose the order they complete the activities in and 2. they can choose which optional activities they would like to complete.
The tasks on each choice board are primarily based on focus skills that I have introduced and want to reinforce. These choice boards provide students with a variety of activities that help them practice important skills. The students work on choice boards throughout the week and I collect them on Friday. This is great because it holds students accountable for the independent activities during reading workshop.
How Choice Boards Work
Every activity with a lightbulb is a “must-do” activity. This means this activity must be completed by Friday. Any activity in a box without a lightbulb is a “may-do”. This is an optional activity that students can choose (or not choose) to do throughout the week- it is optional. All of the “must-do” activities are included in the Making Choices Activity Set. All “may-do” activities can be found in my TPT store.
Here are a few sample “must-do” activities.
Here are a few sample “may-do” activities.
*As mentioned previously, I always provide all of the “must-do” activities in the Making Choices Activity Sets. All of the “may-do” activities can be found in my TPT store. Some are forever freebies and others are items that can be purchased. Check out my collection by clicking here.
Using Choice Boards During Reading Workshop
For reading workshop I typically have four groups. Each group cycles through four stations throughout the week. It is really three but I have them visit choice boards twice. My groups are independent reading, choice board, guided reading, choice board.
I have 60 minutes in my schedule daily for reading workshop. Each station rotation is about 25-30 minutes (consider transition time).
I use a rotation schedule so that students know where they are for the day. Students know that each day choice board is one of their stations. So, they either have guided reading and choice board or, independent reading and choice board. My independent reading is similar to the Daily five- however, I’ve gotten away from calling it Daily 5 because I’ve switched up my routine quite a bit and it doesn’t really mirror the Daily 5 formula. But, if you are familiar with Daily 5 then picture “read to self”, “read with a partner”, and “listen to reading”. This is what independent reading looks like. Sometimes I choose the type of reading they must do, other times I allow them to choose. Students fill out their reading log after reading independently. A reading log is included in the Making Choices Activity Set.
The Benefits of Using Choice Boards
The beauty of using choice boards is that I don’t have the stress of creating games and activities each week. My choice boards require no prep and are ready to go- I just add paper : ).
Other benefits of using Making Choices Activity Sets during reading workshop is that:
- the choice boards provide alternative assessment opportunities for students
- the choice boards provide a variety of activities that are fun and engaging- these activities are not your typical worksheet.
- the choice boards provide designated/pre-made tasks that hold students accountable for their time during reading workshop.
- the choice boards minimize that extra work that we sometimes create for ourselves and they free up some of our planning time. In the past I’ve always struggled with “how do I keep my students actively engaged and hold them accountable during reading workshop without giving them busy work. And– how can I avoid having to grade a ton of papers?” I truly think my choice boards simplifies this process and gives me the extra time to plan ahead so that when I do the larger tasks and activities during reading workshop-I don’t have to spend my entire weekend planning. Instead I spread my planning out over a few weeks.
If you would like to use my Making Choices Activity Sets in your classroom, you can get them for *free* by subscribing to my email list! Each month I mail out a *free* Making Choices Activity Set in my newsletter- this is a $2.99 value! All you have to do is click here and sign up. Be sure to check your junk mail if you don’t receive a confirmation email right away!