In my quest to help my student teacher and keep my kids engaged after testing, I landed on choices. Giving students choices is a well-known way to increase engagement and productivity. We were going to do novel units, but because of testing and the small amount of time left in the year, we are sticking to one of the units in our anthology that focuses on consumerism. Not only does this tie well with our current topics of study in the history side of the block, but it also is an engaging topic for 7th graders. Now to keep them interested in the actual work around the texts.
Reader’s Response Journals
Reader’s response journals are something I have used for quite a while. They offer a variety of prompts that can vary with students’ moods and interests, and they can get to deep levels of thinking and synthesis.
Here are some examples:
Differentiating With learning Menus
Using menus of activities is always a great differentiation tool as well as a way to offer choice and increase engagement. Our science teachers love to do a menu-based unit during testing so it makes sense that all the students are at different places and working on different things.
Teaching Channel has a great video with a Chapter/Unit learning menu sample.
Choice boards are similar to menus, but usually the students have fewer options targeting a specific skill or learning. I am leaning toward this for the end-of-unit assessment/performance task.
https://Daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com is a great resource for differentiation and choice learning.
One of the options is a tic tac toe style “board.” Students select one option from each row.
Another option that I am leaning toward is a R.A.F.T.S. assignment. This directs a student to pick a specific Role, Audience, Format, and Topic.
What do you use for offering choice around a specific topic or unit?
In my non-teacher consumed hours I love to spend time with my husband and son, play board games, sew/craft/quilt, and read (I DO teach ELA).I aspire to be more into fitness and outdoors more often, though I find a comfy chair and a good book/movie mightily appealing.