Today’s Teaching Tuesday is all about choices.
Not teaching choices, but student choices. We often give students things to do, and that’s what they do. This is leading them to do one simple idea and to just do the status quo. They’re not even attempting to think outside the box.
I found this out when I assigned a hands on activity: make the ocean floor out of salt dough. The only requirement was they had to work together in their group and if they did not cooperate together or misbehaved, I had an alternative assignment ready for them.
Every single group approached it the same way: they thought I meant they had to do a 3-D model. They complained they didn’t have enough salt dough to do it with. Yet, they never tried to just lay it flat and carve out the different aspects.
How do we change this mentality?
Give them choices. Give them a homework board with 3 columns on it (Language Arts, Math, Content). Each column has 3 choices (total of 9 choices). Have them do 2 from each column, that way they each get to choose what they do. Allow them to pick a book to take home for reading homework. Let them pick their station order (Daily 5 model).
How do you help students learn how to make choices?