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The Choice of Engagement


I've tried multiple ways to run stations and centers in my primary grade classrooms the past ten years. Depending on the dynamics of your classroom some strategies and organization of stations work and others do not. I have found that I keep changing the way I manage stations due to the fact that they never seems to run just perfectly. I clearly understand that when teaching 7 years olds, stations may not ever run smoothly. Expecting young minds to work independently on task can be challenging for teachers and can cause stress when trying to decide how to manage small group instruction and what the other students will be doing at the same time. I'm here to share a way that you can get your kids to work independently and stay engaged. 

This year I decided to rethink my station management (again). I believe that when you teach firm procedures and expectations your students CAN work independently on any tasks. The key is to keep the students engaged at all times. Students should have something to do at every moment. More than just reading a book quietly or drawing a picture. Student engagement will pay off in the long run and you will be able to put your entire focus on your small group instruction, which is most important.

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.


Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Children love choices. They want to feel like they are in charge of their own decisions. I use Choice Boards in my classroom during small group time because these Choice Boards are allowing students to choose between literacy activities that hit all the fundamentals of reading (phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension). Each day the students choose 3 activities from the list of 5. These activities are done on lined writing paper or scratch paper. Yes, I know it saves on copies and prep (another reason I created these boards). Once they finish their required 3 choice activities they can move onto a Choice Challenge. Choice Challenges are engaging early finishers that aren't just busy work. In my classroom I have organized an area where students can find supplies for their Choice Board activities and Choice Challenges.  It's an area where they will not distract my small group lesson or the students working independently on tasks at their seat. 

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

The Choice Board foldable is great for organization and tracking student completion. Students score themselves at the end of the week on how they did on Choice Time activities. Teacher then also has a check list of work quality and behavior during Choice Time. And guess what is the best part of the Choice Boards? These Choice Boards are completely EDITABLE for any teacher and grade level use. You can decide what activities you want your students to complete. The Choice Board pack is available in my TPT store and includes the editable boards and lists of great ideas for activities for students to complete during choice time. 

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Grab this great resource to build student engagement and independence in your classroom today! Click the product image below to visit my TPT store.

Choice Boards are perfect for station and center time. These choice boards build student engagement, differentiated instruction and have minimal teacher prep.

Below you will find many examples of activities and products you could use for Choice Challenges (early finishers). Obviously you can still give your students the choice of silent reading. Some kids want that and I never want to take that quiet and important time away. 















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