A choice board is a visual tool that teachers can use in their classrooms to allow students to… make choices! Choice boards consist of two or more options of activities for students to complete. The teacher specifies what choices are available, and the student selects what activity (or activities) they’ll do. Some choice boards are simple — choose one of two options listed. Some choice boards are more complex; for example, nine options are displayed in a grid and students will select and complete three of them.
Choice boards are great because they give students the opportunity to choose how they engage with the material they’ve been studying and demonstrate what they’ve learned in their own way. Students can choose an activity that allows them to play to their own strengths or an option that’s new and challenging. They might wish to study a favourite topic in depth or explore a new topic.
Choice boards are also great for accommodating different learning styles. For example, students may have more success submitting journal entries or reflections if they can choose whether to complete a written entry, a video entry, or an audio recorded entry. For a homework assignment, you might provide links to a written article, a video, and a podcast (all on a similar topic), have students read/watch/listen to one of them, and create a response to or answer questions about the content.
Choice boards give students freedom within their learning, which also requires them to take responsibility for their choices. Letting students choose their own activities allows them to pick options that are interesting to them, or that they can connect to on a deeper level, which leads to more meaningful learning.
Choice boards can be as simple as two options listed on a whiteboard or as fancy as grids, bingo cards, photos, pictures, or objects. They can be useful for remote or asynchronous learning, as they allow students to work at their own pace (within the allotted time frame). You can post choice boards in whatever digital classroom your school uses, and students can select and submit their assignments virtually, by the indicated deadline.
Here are two sample choice board activities. (For other examples and activities, see the downloads at the bottom of this article!)
For a performance-based choice board:
- Students will select and rehearse a 30-second monologue of their choice. Students may either perform their monologue live in class on Friday or record a video of their performance and submit it by Thursday at 7 pm. Please submit the title of the monologue and your choice of performance style to Ms. Smith by the end of Tuesday’s class.
For a playwriting choice board (choose one of the following):
- Write a half-page monologue where the main character expresses a strong emotion.
- Write a one-page scene where the main character interacts with one other family member.
- Write a one-page scene where the main character does something for the first time with a group of people.
- Write a one-page scene where two other characters talk about the main character.
The following exercises also feature activities that you could use for choice boards:
- Superhero Series: Final Performance
- Playwriting Exercise: Advertisement Prompt
- Costume Challenge: Modernizing a Classic Character’s Ensemble
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.Want to find out more about our newest plays, resources and giveaways?
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