I've never been super confortable with giving my children choices during independent work times. I guess that's the control freak in me. I like the control of grouping my children (either by ability or behavior).
But, I decided to give "choice" a try as we come to the end of the year. I have a pretty good class this year, and I thought they could handle it.
I first started by adding student choice to Math Tub time. We do math before reading each day, so it just made sense. I told my kiddos if they could make good choices all week with math, we would give reading a try the following week.
I've been really pleased with their choice-making abilities. Granted it's not as quiet as when I was picking the groups, but I think it adds a little more enthusiasm for the activities.
So... how does it work?
Well, I have 18 kids and 4 tubs each week (4 reading and 4 math). At the beginning of our tub time, I let the children come up one at a time and make their choice on the Promethean Board. They know that only four children can pick each tub- then that tub is full. The two children picked to make their choice last get to be the fifth child at two of the tubs (so there are 2 groups of 4 and 2 groups of 5).
Here's what my flipchart looks like. I just quickly change out the names of the tubs each week, to help the kids know where they want to go.
** If you're interested in this week's tubs: The homophone match was from First Grade Parade, the i sort came from Cara Carroll's March Unit, the Popcorn sort is from Babbling Abby's popcorn adjective unit, and the lightning bug round-up game can be found here for free.**
After they make their choice they go ahead and get started. This has helped space out the kids getting started, so they all aren't moving at the same time.
How do you do choice in your classroom?