“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” Robert A. Heinlein
I like choosing. Sure, there are days when I’d rather leave it to someone else, but for the most part, I like to make my own decisions. Like this cat, I may follow you around, but in the end, I do my own thing.
This week, our students are writing a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story. When they choose, I see the effort increase. Instead of just allowing natural choices, I find that planning for a choice activity makes more sense.
Here are some easy ways to include choice in the daily schedule:
Morning Attendance – I’ve found a way to provide an easy check-in system with choices. I bought a clear, executive three-box pamphlet holder. Behind it, I put the words, “Today, I choose….” Each morning, before students arrive, I put a sticky note on all three boxes. After shaking hands with my students at the door, they take their index card and make one of the three choices. Some days it’s related to our topic, and other days it’s random. I find they love to choose, and it takes me about 10 seconds a day to prepare. By the time I finish saying hello to everyone, my attendance is done as well.
Homework Choices- We used to provide our third graders with a bingo board for homework so that they could choose which homework path to complete; however, we found that they were not yet used to so many choices and it overwhelmed them. Now, we provide homework with two spelling or two math choices. Students can handle it, and they love to choose.
Reading Choices- I’ve read several books about how choosing provides positive encounters with reading in general. This year, I began by recommending a book to each student to read. After that, I allow them to choose books to read and to recommend to each other. This has built some excitement in our class.
Class News- A new activity in our class this year is the student created newsletter. My girlfriend suggested we do it with one of the blocks where some students are in a different special class. It has worked like a charm. We began with a whole group discussion about what the students wanted to include in the paper. After this brainstorming session, students chose jobs and got to work. We’re in the middle of our second edition, and I can’t wait to read the outcome.
With many choices, wouldn’t you get excited about learning? What are some ways that you provide choices in your school day?