Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Slice of Life Day Six: Choice in the Classroom

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Since I've taken on my new-er classroom, I've explored projects, play and choice.  A Lot. 

My favorite attempt was to completely open all the choices in the classroom during December and watch what happened.  In the end, I would say it didn't work.  But I loved trying. 

It went like this:

  • I would teach/We would discuss a mini lesson.   
  • There is usually some independent that is required around these lessons.  
  • After they completed their independent practice, they were free.  Want to construct with Legos?  Cool.  Art project?  You bet.  
  • After watching them in December, I noticed it was just very hard for some kids to engage even at all.  So I went back to dividing up the morning and the afternoon with a few parameters.  
Why just a few parameters?  

Because I really believe in choice for kids.  My own kids love to construct, research, try things out.  They have learned some amazing things this way.  I knew I wanted this spirit of autonomy in my classroom.  

So I fashioned a menu for the kids to use when they are deciding what they would like to work on.  Here's one we've been using recently in the afternoon:

These activities are selected based on student interest and topics we are covering in class.  Because of my students this year, I really only have these guidelines:
  • Choose what you want to work on.
  • Stay with it.  Try to work the whole time.
  • Are you done?  Check in with Mrs. Limback, let's pick something new together!
Guidelines, because my class is great at a lot!  Currently, We are learning how to use persistence to stick with tasks for an amount of time.  

Some books I love on creativity, choice, play, basically all the joy in teaching and learning:

How do you promote choice in the classroom?  



  1. Did you offer these choices daily? Was it one round daily or could they stick with the same for a week??

  2. Thanks for the book suggestions! I offer choice at different times of day- activities from the "bottom shelf," rainy day recess activities and Secret Centers. Computers are always available during these times.