Sunday, August 19, 2012

Choice in the Classroom

Choice in the Classroom
One of my big goals last year was to add more student choice within my classroom.  How did that work out?  Actually, really well!  In my first couple of years teaching, I was afraid to relinquish some control to the students.  WRONG!  Little did I know, I had less control then that I did when I allowed students to make some of their own choices!

Academic Info (without citations)
William Glasser developed Choice Theory, a psychological theory that explains how and why humans behave.  According to this theory, five basic needs drive our behavior:
1. survival
2. love and belonging
3. power
4. freedom
5. fun
I really recommend reading The Classroom of Choice by Jonathan Erwin.  This book is FULL of great ideas for incorporating elements of choice within your classroom.  This book really gets to the heart of intrinsic motivation.  

Ideas for Choice
Here are some ways to provide students with a choice:
1. Complete odds or evens.
2. Work wherever you want in the room as long as you are on task.
3. Choose the order in which you want to complete the activities.
4. Choose your own partner.
5. Use Interest Inventories to learn more about how your students like to learn.  My science one is available for free in my stores.
6. Portfolio or Tic Tac Toe style assessments/assignments
7. Class Jobs/ Job Applications
8. Peer Tutoring
9. Class Constitution
10. Stations (my favorite thing in the world obviously)
11. Project Based Learning

The main thing I feel is required for giving these opportunities for choice is structured and clear expectations.  You can't just say "Go work wherever and let me know when you're done!"  Well, if you do say that, I'd love to be a fly on the wall.  When providing new choices, it's important to model, practice, and create written expectations.  

New Goal
My goal this year is to work on love and belonging.  Class meetings and relationship building activities should help with this!  :)

I would love to hear how you've used class meetings!

5 comments:

  1. That sounds like a great book! It's pinned to my "worth reading" board.

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  2. I agree with Heather. This sounds like another good read for professional development. I love that you have set a goal for yourself this year. I'm also going to work on more community building this year as I have let it fall to the wayside the past few years...no good. I'm looking forward to starting off with Morning Meetings. :)

    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief

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  3. I used the Dakota Character set of class meeting topics and then expanded on them throughout the year. We really learned a lot from each other and the kids seemed to do really well with character and treating each other with respect. They liked to be heard.

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  4. Thanks for the suggestions about giving students more choices in the classroom. I agree that it's super helpful in the middle grades, especially.

    Kristin

    ReplyDelete

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