Student Choice

So it seems I’ve fell short of my blogging goal of once a week. The start of the school year is always jam packed so I’ll cut myself a break.

I love reading aloud to my students but too much of anything is bad. Lately, I’ve been pushing for more individualized and differentiated learning. Instead of reading Wonder aloud to my classes, I’ve given students the option of either reading with a small group or alone. Students really enjoy having a choice. This change has allowed me to shift to a facilitator. I’m able to float around and provide support or just chat with a student about the book. I admit, it was hard to give up the “control” I had while we read together but once I learned how to manage having every student at a different spot, things worked out much better. My students have enjoyed being able to go at their own pace.

With student choice in mind, I took things a step forward and created over multiple “after reading” assignments. There’s three categories I like to cover after students finish a book (curiosity of Kelly Gallagher) : 2nd draft reading, metaphorical, and reflection. I gave students at least two choices for each category. Being a Google Apps for Education school, I created a Google Doc that contained all the directions and links to each assignments. After holding a reading conference with me, students start working on the assignments. Integrating student choice into class isn’t an easy task. It definitely requires more time on my part, planning everything out, but in the end it’s always worth it. Students should have a say when it comes to learning.