Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Choice Boards: A Guide to Getting Started


How many times have we heard this word over the last few weeks? There is no better word to describe our education system at the moment. What we are experiencing with COVID-19 truly is unprecedented.

Teachers have been forced to reevaluate how they deliver instruction. Families have had to tackle the idea of "homeschooling". And many children have been removed from the safest space they know.

The term "Distance Learning" has been adapted by many school districts as a way to talk about a method for delivering education remotely over the internet. What this actually looks like in large part depends on the school. I was fortunate to have had a weeks notice before we began distance learning. Our principal brought in someone to speak with us about best practices and gave us time to collaborate with our teams. Pretty unprecedented, huh?

Like many others, I grappled with the idea of where to begin.  So my classes need to be online - now what?
I began by creating a framework for how I wanted my online classes to look.

Download a copy of  the Distance Learning Teacher's Essentials here for FREE 

Additionally, I started looking at all the AMAZING & FREE resources that were now available.

Companies have been very generous to the education community. There are way too many to list, but here are a few of my favorite comprehensive lists of resources:

After giving much thought and planning I decided not to go with a "traditional" class, but rather give my students some choice. 

I also wanted to provide my students with opportunity for meaningful input and output just like they would in my class. Therefore, I created eight different options for students to practice input and output. I used the *free* resources now available to me and my students, and I created a Choice Board. Each week I will post new choices for students to complete. Check out the video below to see how I plan to use it in my classroom.

Watch my Video Tutorial here on how it works: 

The million dollar question. How will I collect and track all of this work?

I teach over 200 students. If every one of my students completes two activities each week, that is over 400 assignments to check. Yeah, so I'm not going to do that. Rachel Lucas from Tech for World Language Teachers posted a wonderful idea. She created a free & editable Google Form as a way of tracking daily attendance.  I edited the form to add a space for students to let me know which choices from the choice board they completed for that week. This puts the responsibility on the students, not me. 

As you'll see in my video above, I made class rosters listing the eight activities and point value. Each week I'll go through the Google Form and check off which activities the students completed. 

Click here to make a copy of the Attendance Google Form

You can also watch Rachel's video tutorial here

Update: I have completed my first day of online classes and only answered 62 emails... ha! Fortunately, they were mostly from students who had forgotten their passwords to different websites. Easy fix! 

As we continue to navigate new waters, I'm so thankful to all the supportive and generous educators out there giving of their time and talents. 

Forever grateful,