How I give my students voice & choice

Here are a few ways to ensure responsibility and independence among your students

Using a system I call “Math Path,” my students get all of the targets that they need to learn and a place to keep track of their progress. They use the LMS to grade their own work (with my teacher’s edition), get their grades, and move ahead. They’re owning their learning by doing their own learning. When they need help, they can come to me or talk to another student. This allows them the freedom to take a test early and move on.

When I teach the American Revolution, I create related discussion pages where students can start threads on, say, George Washington. They use the platform to upload pictures, videos, and links about Washington and collaborate with one another in a way that really supports student voice and choice.

One student who wasn’t vocal during class got a big confidence boost from the experience. She narrated videos at home and uploaded them to itslearning. Students commented back to her and that started several conversations that probably wouldn’t have taken place in the traditional classroom setting.

The power of student choice
One of the things I like for students to do is create their own reviews to use with their classmates. For the last few years, they’ve been using Kahoot to review for quizzes and tests, including the state test. It’s been great fun for them to prepare in this way.

During reading time, my students get to choose which books they read. I gather multiple copies of leveled books and offer up to six books for each reading group to choose from. I just make sure there are at least three in each book club.

All of this collaboration is pretty powerful. By giving students voice and choice, we help get them college- and career-ready.

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