This is a guest post by one of our blog writers, Katherine Miller.
It is easy to see why choice boards have gained popularity in music education. Besides all of the benefits choice boards have for student learning, there are also so many ideas out there from other music educators to help ease the strain of taking our instruction online.
All that is left now is to create one for your own students! But, before you get started, there are few steps you need to take before you sit down at your computer.
3 Steps to Creating Choice Boards for Teachers
Step 1: Choose your concept or objective
What will your students be able to do once they have completed the tasks on your choice board? Keeping the objective in mind will help you to decide what tasks are appropriate to include on your choice board.
Step 2: Plan out your board!
How will your choice board be organized? Choice boards have so many options that it is important you know how you will organize tasks for students. How many tasks do you need? Do you want to include activities that have different risk levels for your learners?
You can check out some examples of how to organize your choice board here:
Step 3: Brainstorm or research activities that will help students meet your objective
As you start to develop ideas for tasks students can complete, it is important to remember the tools students have available to them.
- Do your activities need paper, writing utensils, or a device?
- Do your students have those tools available to them?
You might also want to consider including tasks that incorporate different intelligences in order to get the most engagement from as many students as possible since they will be completing the tasks without you by their side.
Lastly, don’t forget to think through how students will show you that they have completed their work or have reached the objective. How will students turn their product into you? Will they use paper, pictures, or video? Keeping these things in mind while you plan will help to narrow down your list of tasks to include.
Here is a list of 30 activities that might help to get you started!
Now that you have a clear plan, it will be easy to develop a choice board template for your music students!
Choice Board Templates for Music Teachers
Choice board templates can really be made in any program that allows for:
- Tables (This is how you will create the board itself)
- Images/multimedia (embedded or links)
- Easy sharing with students
My suggestion is to use a program that YOU know well.
And for your students, make sure that the way you share it with them is a format they’re familiar with: PDFs, Word Docs, etc..
Our goal is to teach music digitally not to teach programs that can make music. Making the choice to use a program that is already known means that students will be able to focus on the music objective and the tasks they need to complete to show mastery rather than just learning the tool, or program, you chose.
Canva is a design website that helps you create amazing designs with ease. This website has a nearly endless gallery of template options for almost any purpose you can imagine including all kinds of different board designs: mood boards, bingo boards, and storyboards to name a few.
You can also find additional designs by searching for charts in their template gallery too! Within the huge gallery of template options, you may find something that easily fits the plan you had for your choice board.
If you find a template you love, make sure to check the size of the template. It may need to be resized to make it easily viewable to students. For instance, you may want your template to be the size of a normal sheet of paper or standard size. In Canva, any template you choose can be resized to a Flyer or 2550×3300 pixels. Or you can change the size using the resize tool in the top left hand side of any template you have opened to begin to edit.
Canva can also be shared with your students in many different formats including .png files, .jpeg files and PDF. This allows you to use them in conjunction with other programs too. You could make your creation in Canva a background for a presentation or you could make a graphic to include in a document.
Google Docs/Microsoft Word
The students in your classroom have probably used one of these word processing programs, if not from work in your room perhaps from work in another content area. Either of them can be used to create a choice board template.
Open a new document, and just add a table! You can format it to fit your plan and begin to add your content in each of the cells. In fact, many of the choice boards I have seen online use one of these two programs!
I believe that one of these options is the best choice! Either of these presentation programs have the same ease as the programs I have already mentioned but what sets them apart is that all of the things students need can be in one place!
For instance, you can set up the presentation to have the first slide, and view for students, as the choice board that you planned. Then, the slides that follow can include any of the activities or assessments that students might need to complete the tasks they chose.
The activities in a presentation program can be more than just writing as both of these options allow for the tasks you provide for students to be interactive which is a limit of a word processing program. As Sarah Joncas said slides can be “more than just lecture slides, but rather slides that students will actually do something with”.
You can find out more information about making interactive slides for students here.
Once you have your choice board and all of the tasks built inside of your presentation, you can link to each activity to the board just like you can add links to videos or websites students might need externally.
Here is a quick tutorial to show you how easy you can set up your own template and create these links within your presentation
You can also access these templates to use in Google Slides and Powerpoint to get you started:
Download your copy
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About the writer
Katherine (Katie) Miller holds a Bachelor of Music in Education degree from Otterbein University (Westerville, OH) and a Masters of Educational Leadership from Antioch McGregor Midwest (Yellow Springs, OH). She has 15 years of professional musical experience as a music educator and performer.
She is currently employed by the School District of Waukesha in Waukesha, WI, where she teaches K-5 General Music and serves as a district model tech classroom. She was recognized in 2018 as a WPT Education Innovator by Wisconsin Public Television Education team.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.