A Matter of Choice

Whatever you choose, you might as well enjoy it. It is your choice.-Shad Helmstetter

When I go to a restaurant with an extensive menu, I sometimes have trouble deciding what to order.  It all looks good to me.  Buffets are nice because then you can sample a little of everything.  When we travel, my husband packs way more clothes than he needs for the length of the trip because he likes to have “choices” when we are there.  Choices are a good thing.

choice checklistMy students like choices also.  One of my awesome first grade colleagues introduced me to her choice schedule she uses on Fridays.  Her schedule has time blocks. I altered it slightly to omit the times and just put numbers in.  I listed several activities on the board and they chose which ones they would complete today. I showed them my own “planning page” which is my lesson plan.  I explained this is what I use to schedule my day. They filled in their planning page and got it approved by me or my assistant.

My kids loved the idea that they would plan their own day.  The class was engaged all day.  I was able to assess, work with individual students and pull small groups.  As the kids worked on each activity block, they checked them off when finished.  These time blocks were about 30 minutes each and I rang a bell.  A few of them finished early and they had choices about what to do until the next time block.

At this point in the school year, my students had the scaffolding necessary to handle this planning sheet.  Those needing individual help, were able to ask experts in the class or get teacher help.  Wells Because their activities were varied, they were moving around the room to complete their various tasks.

Ella and AinsleyThey enjoyed the sense of accomplishment as they checked items off their planning sheet.  I can relate to that as I like crossing things off of my own to-do lists.

Many children grow up unable to make decisions because they have had little experience in doing so. Teaching decision- making greatly benefits them in life.

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!

5 thoughts on “A Matter of Choice

  1. Pingback: Straddling the line | With Literacy in Mind

  2. I went on a tour of Goodwin Elementary in January and a teacher was doing this exact thing with her class. Did you get the idea from there?

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