I am not the best at implementing student choice in my classroom. Part of the reason is that I’ve tried things like layered curriculum in my classroom before, and I was discouraged by how many of my students were perfectly happy settling for the “C” option.
Though I will admit, part of that could have been the zero training or support I received when trying to implement it.
Regardless of my own hangups with giving student choices (trust issues, another reason), I do see how giving students that choice –in the right environment–can increase engagement and help students see the purpose and relevance to what I want them to learn.
Even before I knew what today’s blog topic would be, I was feeling like I needed to offer a choice for how my Pop Culture classes will show me what they’ve learned during our most recent unit of study. Over the weekend, I retooled their assessment. They will start this “exam” tomorrow, and they will have a choice. For students who would rather talk me through their understanding and use images and video, students will be able to use Book Creator or Explain Everything. For students who would rather write, they can simply create a Google Doc and write, just like a traditional paper/pencil kind of test.
I also split up this test–students took one part of it last week in graphic organizer form. It used to be an essay question on this test, but I realized that I’ve had them write papers and other formal assessments several times already this semester. As I’ve flipped through those graphic organizers, I can tell that most of their responses are already more thoughtful than any of the essays I read on the more traditional test I gave last semester.
I’m still somewhat trepidatious about offering too much student choice in my classroom, but perhaps just starting with a little here and there will increase my overall comfort with it, and I’ll get used to it eventually.