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November 7, 2010

My 2 1/2 year old son destroys his playroom everyday.  He is a boy!  He is constantly moving, constantly involved in something, and is constantly excited to play with his sister.  When five o’clock rolls around each day, it is time to clean up that playroom.  This is a challenge!  If I go to my son and say, “clean up the blocks”.  He will fight to not do it.  If I say to my son, “you can clean up your blocks, trucks or your play kitchen”.  He will think for a second and start to clean.  Why is that?  I believe that choice is the difference.  No matter the age of the individual, we like to have a choice.  My son is cool with the concept of cleaning but he wants to have a choice on what he cleans.

The classroom should not be any different.  When I began my teaching career, I gave assignments without giving any choice.  I like to think that the assignments were engaging, but they lacked creative choice.  With the help of colleagues, I am learning the importance of this component in a classroom.  Now, when I create stations for my students, I create more than what I expect them to complete.  I also let them decide the order in which they complete the stations.  I am even accepting different ways in which the students complete the work.

This week, I am giving the students the topics/skills that need to be covered.  Then I am going to allow them to create stations for the class.  They are going to be in groups of 3 to 4.  Each group will develop a station.  I am excited to see what they create. Has anyone done a similar activity with their class?  If so, how did it work?

I expect that they are going to love this activity.  Just like my son, my students yearn to have a choice in the classroom.

What are ways that you have instituted choice in your classroom?


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