Are your students struggling with staying motivated? Do you find that they are disengaged and don’t see the point in learning? One way I have found to help students with motivation is to provide student choices. Giving students some choice in their learning helps them take more ownership in their learning. When students have a sense of ownership over their learning and can see the relevance and value of the material to their own lives and interests, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated.
Different ways to offer student choice in the classroom
One way to incorporate student choice into the classroom is through the use of project-based learning. In this approach, students are given the opportunity to pursue a topic or problem that they are interested in, within the context of the curriculum. This allows them to apply what they have learned and make connections to real-world issues, which can increase their motivation and engagement.
Another strategy is to use flexible learning activities. This involves adapting the learning material or tasks to the student’s preferences and interests, giving the option of different paths, resources, and digital tools. This can easily be done by using menu choices. There are different types of menu choices. You can do a tic tac toe menu choice with nine different options and the students then choose three of them to create three in a row. Another type is the restaurant style where students create a three course meal. There are usually two to three different options for each course and the activities move up blooms level of taxonomy as they move from the appetizer to the main course to the dessert. Yet another option is to just list a variety of choices that are worth different points and the students choose which ones they are going to complete to earn a certain grade.
Example student choice project idea using solar system menu board
This week my students were given a solar system menu choice. Working in pairs, they had to complete three TASKS in their investigation of the solar system in order to make a tic-tac-toe. They had the choice to make a travel brochure, comic strip, flip book, or presentation. They also had the choice on which question to investigate. Gravity’s role in our solar system? How Jupiter’s gravity influences our solar system? Is Mars the only place in our solar system where life could potentially exist? and Why is there life on Earth and not on other planets? The students were so engaged. Some of them created their projects using google drive documents and some of them printed out the templates to use. They were learning about the solar system and how gravity affects the objects and having a great time doing it. Before they turned in their projects I had them rate their experience with the project and give me some feedback. Here are some of their quotes.
“we loved it! We had so much fun working together and letting our creative and funny sides show”. “We liked it because it was digital, creative, and we can learn things better this way”. “I loved how there were many choices” “We liked it because it was challenging and fun”.
Most of the students gave it 5 stars with many comments like those above. Now, you are not going to please everyone and I did receive a couple of 3 out of 5 stars. However, when 90% or higher are saying it was great we want more of these I know it was a success. You can see some of their projects below.
Check out my other blog post for more information on using student choice with the 5E mode