• Choice

    Many of us have memories of elementary school which include straight, rigid rows and rules, equally rigid teachers, and little choice or voice in what would be done each day in class.

    Although our classroom is highly structured we do enjoy many opportunities each day for interaction, activity, and fun. One of the most important elements which must regularly be planned is choice. If students are to feel that they are partners in their learning, they must have the freedom and sense of power which comes from the exercise of choice.

    Below are some examples of how choice is integrated with structure:

    • students choose books from a given genre;
    • students choose the colors and designs to be used on an in-class book report;
    • students choose with whom they will sit with at lunch time (initially);
    • students choose topics for exploring the steps of the Scientific Method;
    • students choose twenty multiplication problems from a set of thirty;
    • students choose to represent comprehension of a story through a diagram, a journal entry, or a story extension;
    • students choose writing ideas from their own brainstormed list of possibilities;
    • students choose to review for a test from a number of sources;
    • students choose writing topics from personal experiences.

    Although such choices may seem superficial to us, students respond enthusiastically to any choice given to them during the school day. Equally important is the responsibility learned when such decision making occurs; a poor choice is often more instructive than an excellent one.

Last Modified on September 8, 2006