This post is not just about any old choice board. It's about using choice boards to differentiate for various language proficiency levels in the same class and it takes all language domains into account.
Ieva of Simply Ieva came to chat in our high school teacher membership, My MLL Mentor, about how she differentiates for her various language levels in one class, because there isn't just one way after all! To see how Tan Huynh does this, check out this post from when he visited our membership a couple of months back.
The way Ieva implements this in her classroom is so seamless. Here are some tips for how she does this:
Introduce vocabulary and background knowledge first
Even if content is differentiated, there may be the same background knowledge and academic vocabulary in the content. These can be taught and reviewed whole group before students get into choice boards and working on their own. To review how to know which words to pull out to pre-teach, check out a simple checklist here.
Designate one language domain per day of the week
Ieva formats hers in a Google slide. There is a chart in the slide with a section for each day of the week, and each language domain gets one day. Her Friday she uses as free choice. So, depending on her student's proficiency level, she can easily put directions for her recently arrived students vs. her intermediate levels vs. her advanced.
Here are some examples: for a reading task, students may be reading an article in Newsela. She can easily put in her directions the different options for Lexile levels or even Spanish options. For listening activities, different podcasts can be linked, the speed of the podcast or video can be slowed down if needed, or shortened segments can assigned if you have beginning or intermediate level students.
When it's all due
The key is that students are given the choice. As long as they complete all tasks by Friday, they get credit. She introduces the choice board at the beginning of the week and gives reminders throughout the week that their tasks will be due by Friday. This is wonderful too for if teachers need to work one-on-one or in small groups with other students, but need some to work independently while this is happening.
Other benefits of giving students choice are that it gives students autonomy and ownership of their learning. They get to choose and feel more invested based on those choices. It also shows students that you respect them and you trust them to get their work done on their own. Nothing helps students better than helping them realize that they are in charge of their own learning and we will not hold their hands! High school students- I'm talking to you!
Once using choice boards starts to become routine and your students know the expectations, it will become second nature for them.
If you want to listen to the whole 48 minutes with me and Ieva, check out becoming member! You get guest speakers and monthly lesson plans and resources straight to your inbox.
How else do you differentiate your instruction for your Multilingual Learners in your ESL or ELD class? Comment below!
Looking for choice boards for assessment? Check out this choice board here!
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I teach high school ESL and peer coach high school ESL teachers in my district. I enjoy sharing my strategies and materials online and love learning new things from other teachers of Multilingual Learners/English Learners! Let's learn together in my high school teacher membership just for Multilingual Learners!