Students love having a say in their education. One way to offer them some choice in how they learn, and what they produce to share their learning is differentiating by student choice in product. We all know and accept that students have a variety of learning styles and that some prefer one style over another. However, how often do we address this and allow students to pick activities that gravitate towards their strengths?
I planned with a teacher yesterday and today and her eagerness to allow her students to chose the products they wanted to complete to demonstrate their mastery was refreshing. One of the biggest complaints I hear from students is, “School is boring. We all have to do the same things.” Differentiation takes the monotony out of learning and gives students a wide variety of opportunities.
I realize that offering a ton of choices might be overwhelming, hard to grade, and a management nightmare. However if you start small and offer students a menu of choices, it will be much easier to handle student choice in your classroom. The goal for all of these items can be the same, in this case vocabulary acquisition, but the proof of learning and mastery can look unique for each student.
Differention by Product is Made Easy with Tech
“This is easy with Web 2.0 technology tools. Students do not need to all create the same product, but choices can be given to allow them to choose a method that is more in alignment with their intelligences. All these tools help students create. According to the Digital Bloom’s taxonomy – creating is on the high end of the spectrum of critical thinking tools. You don’t have to be an expert in all of these tools. Tutorials already exist in Youtube or by talking to other teachers who have the how-to papers ready to go. Students are ready to learn the program to accomplish the product so let them try!”
Young, Robin. “Technology Tuesday-Supporting Differentiation in the Classroom.” Robins Tech Tips RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.
Considering all the tools today’s learners have readily available at the tips of their fingers, I highly recommend giving your learners objectives, or learning goals, and allowing them to choose activities from a menu to complete. Want to give them more of a challenge, differentiate by readiness as well and require your learners to complete a different number of activities based on their understanding during pretests or benchmark testing.
Tic Tac Toe boards, Bingo Boards, and choice menus are easy to construct and give students a say in how they share their newly acquired knowledge. It would be super easy to infuse this type of differentiation into the independent station.