Is your classroom teacher centered? Standards centered? Student centered?
I am a firm believer in the power of choice. Ask anyone about what they want to do over the weekend, and of course, they are going to say they would prefer to have a choice.
Sleep in and wake up to the sound of two giggling boys.
I also believe the high expectations is the TRUE one size fits all.
Why is Choice Important?
Choice is the beginning to engagement. If you think about it, your students are going to choose what best fits their learning styles and needs.
Another benefit of choice is a greater sense of independence for the students. What a great feeling! Students work on and create products based on their beliefs, rather than what we, teachers, want them to do. So in other words, when our kiddos have choices in the activities they wish to complete, they are more focused on their learning that leads to their choice or product.
How to Use Menus in the Classroom
There are different ways to use instructional menus in the classroom. I always ask my self:
- How much background knowledge do my students need?
- Is this something that they can approach independently?
- Do I have in my classroom, the materials needed for my students to accomplish their task?
I have been using menus for my students in three different ways:
- For enrichment and supplementary activities for fast finishers and high achievers.
- To replace certain activities. I pick and choose what I directly teach and what my students can learn and review through product menus.
- After mini-lessons, with the menus driving the accompanying classroom activities. This is a class favorite! My students get to review basic concepts or check for understanding in a very fun way.
Math Menus in My Classroom
I have used math menus in my classroom for a number of years. More recently, however, I have a number of students who just need more. They need more in terms of challenge and choice.
Once my students have completed a round of BUILD stations, I meet with them to help them decide on a choice challenge board. Every single choice board contains activities that will challenge them in the ares of: number sense, word problems, computation, fractions, place value, geometry, measurement, and so may more math concepts.
Each math menu has 6 activities with a different amount of points. The goal of each choice board is to make a total of 80 points. So they choose the activities to meet their goal.
Getting the Choice Boards
Each one of my monthly BUILD stations includes a total of 5 choice challenge boards. Your students can use them when they are done with their math center tasks. I make a big deal when my students meet their goals by sending home a positive note, or by making a happy pone call to mom or dad. I usually make sure to mention hugs. snuggles, and some ice cream!
You can click HERE to visit my store and learn more about BUILD stations. You can find the choice boards in each set.
Math Menu Sample
Until next time!