Megan Reynolds

Megan Reynolds

I am a teacher & designer. Connecting with students & seeing them enjoy learning is my favorite feeling on earth! I hope you enjoy this article!

An Elementary Teacher’s Perspective on Choice Boards

FREE Blank Fillable & Custom Choice Board

All ages, all grades where you need 9 grid choice board. Start loving learning again! 

Empowering Young Learners Through Choice

As an elementary teacher, I have seen firsthand how education continues to shift away from traditional lectures and repetitive worksheets. While those methods have some benefits, many students become passive and disengaged as they sit listening to teachers talk at them. Education needs to be interactive if we want young children to truly absorb lessons and take ownership of their learning. This starts by making students active participants rather than just recipients of instruction. One of the most effective ways I’ve found to do this is through using choice boards.

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What is a Choice Board?

A choice board is a grid display of different options students can choose from to practice skills, engage with content, and demonstrate understanding. The teacher provides a variety of meaningful, challenging tasks that tap into various learning styles and interests. Students select which activities they want to complete, promoting intrinsic motivation.

For example, my 2nd grade math choice board may include:

  • Solve 5 word problems
  • Draw models to show thinking
  • Complete an “I Have, Who Has?” card activity
  • Make flashcards to practice facts
  • Play online math games
  • Construct a math puzzle
  • Explain concepts in a video
  • Other approved ideas

Why Do Choice Boards Work?

Increased Engagement
When students get to make choices, they are intrinsically motivated to put forth more effort and take ownership. The ability to choose empowers young learners.

Students can challenge themselves at their own level while having options tailored to their learning style. Choices allow them to work in their optimal zone.

Making smart choices about their learning builds responsibility and accountability. Students practice self-direction.

21st Century Skills
Choice boards allow students to tap into critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving as they select activities requiring deeper thinking.

An assortment of activities breaks up monotony and keeps learning fresh and engaging. Students benefit from balanced independent and collaborative work.

Simplifies Differentiation for Teachers
Creating one choice board efficiently reaches all students rather than planning wholly separate tasks for individuals. It builds in differentiation.

Easy to Implement
Choice boards provide clear options, requirements, and expectations upfront in a simple format. Students understand the process quickly.

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My Experience Using Choice Boards

I initially tried choice boards for English Language Arts centers, but quickly saw their versatility. My first priority was boosting student engagement, and the boards delivered. When I overheard a student say math was now his favorite subject because of the choice boards, I knew I was onto something powerful.

I observed students putting greater care into their work and thinking critically about their choices. Groups collaborated seamlessly while individuals took charge of their learning. Students were noticeably more enthusiastic, motivated, and proud of their work. I was able to work one-on-one with students to provide support as needed.

Choice boards made differentiated instruction easy and organized. I could allow struggling learners to focus on reinforcement activities or enable advanced students to make real-world connections. Every student could work to their potential.

Choice boards transformed both my teaching and my students’ learning experiences. I cannot imagine going back to forcing the entire class to do the same activity. Offering choices unlocked my students’ love of learning.

Looking Ahead with Choice Boards

Choice boards are a simple concept with transformative potential in elementary classrooms. When students get to follow their interests and pick work tailored to their needs, the benefits are immense. Motivation, engagement, and ownership of learning skyrocket.

Choice boards allow young learners to take active roles in their education. As schools shift toward personalized, passion-based education, I know choice boards will only gain prominence. My fellow teachers and I are just scratching the surface of how these grids can empower students. With thoughtful activity selection and an openness to student ideas, the possibilities are endless. If choice boards already produce such profound growth, I am excited to see how their potential unfolds in the future. This interactive learning tool has won my classroom over, and I believe choice boards will soon be the standard, not the exception.

FREE Blank Fillable & Custom Choice Board

All ages, all grades where you need 9 grid choice board. Start loving learning again!