Giving Students Choice in Your Classroom | Mentoring in the Middle

Giving Students Choice in Your Classroom

How do you accommodate the needs of many different learners in your ELA class?  This year, there seems to be a greater distance between my strongest readers and my weaker ones.  And not just in reading strength, but in stamina for learning.
So, how do you keep kids engaged through "all the things" you need to teach?

One of the ways I'm trying to do that is by giving students choice about the work they do.  Create a Playlist that requires them to complete several activities that get them to the end goal, but provide them with many choices for each.  You can do this without making yourself crazy!

Take advantage of online resources:

Create a Playlist:

  • Four or five passages for students to read 
  • Two or three vocabulary or Latin/Greek roots assignments
  • Two or three grammar assignments
  • Perhaps a reading strategy, separate from those assigned with text
  • Two or three paragraph-long writing responses, some including research
You tell them how many assignments they need to complete and what the deadline is.  If you want to differentiate assignments, assign certain ones to students.  When I do that, I break my kids up into groups online (I see the groupings, they don't) and put the playlists online.  That way, I can assign different ones to different students. 

They get to choose what they want to work on over a one-two week period.  The work is at their comprehension level, so there's a greater chance of success overall.  Students like being able to choose what they do!  And while it may seem like a lot at first, it's really not!  Take advantage of online work, so that you can see at a glance who's doing okay with a concept and who needs to be pulled for additional work.

I hope you'll give this a try.  My students enjoy having a say in their assignments.

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