Choice boards have exploded in popularity, especially with the expansion of online learning. They allow for differentiation, creativity, and student agency. You can use them to practice skills and concepts, build inquiry projects from them, or just use them for fun!
There are a lot of different ways to create choice boards. You can make a bingo-style card, a calendar of activities, or just a plain grid or list. Here are just a few reasons why this trend is awesome.
- Students can choose an appropriate level at which to approach their learning. That means that students who have almost no experience outside of class can choose to engage at their level, and students who have been playing the violin for six years can too.
- There is room to differentiate for the level of student engagement. Those who have limited time and energy can pick and choose activities, and those who want to go above and beyond can choose more (or harder) activities.
- They can take on a lot of different formats. Choice boards can be shared through your online learning platform, through Google Slides/Docs/Drive, or even printed out and sent home.
- You can still guide them to approach their learning through a variety of activities. If you don’t want to give students free reign over their choice of activities, you can give them guidelines like “pick one listening activity, one composition activity, and one performance activity”. You can ask them to choose one activity from each column or list, and organize your document strategically.
- The lesson can still be part of it. I have made a choice board in Google Slides that included a video where I delivered a mini-lesson on that week’s concept. Students were asked to watch the video and then choose a few of the activities to practice their new learning.
- Student agency! It is easy to offer activities that are open-ended so that students can incorporate their interests. For example, if I ask students to create a movement sequence to a piece of music, they can choose from any music they have at home rather than whatever music we are listening to in class.
- Students can play to their strengths. With the flexibility of the activities, students can usually choose how to document their learning: video, recording, composition, or any other kind of project.
- FUN. For you or the students? Both. I had fun creating choice boards, but much more fun when I started getting videos and other submissions from the students. And I could tell that they were having fun with every single activity they sent me.
I could go on, but I hope you are convinced. If you want to give it a try, or you are already trying and need some help, you will find over 200 ideas here. There are ideas for choice boards, as well as listening boards, scavenger hunts, and task cards.
You can also find two FREE Music Bingo cards to get you started here.
Are you using choice boards with your classes? What are you finding to be the most effective with your students?
2 thoughts on “Are choice boards really that great? (Yes!)”
Do you use the choice boards during off-line classes as well?
If you mean asynchronous learning, absolutely! They are perfect for kids who can’t access a computer but are learning away from my classroom. As for using them in the classroom, when the children are with me, I have used a version of choice boards before, but not as often. Smaller choice boards are great for centers/stations when you are reviewing a lot of content. For example, if I have a center for head voice, I’ll make a smaller board with some “singing voice” options. Then another center might review steady beat or rhythm, so I’d have a small choice board with some activities practicing those concepts. It’s another way I can give my students more agency and empower them to make decisions about how they want to engage with music!