Strategy

Choice Boards

Learning Menus, Tic-Tac-Toes, Choice-Making Strategies

UDL 4.1

Choice Boards display images or icons of available options from which students can use to communicate their wants and needs with others. When asking a student to make a choice, the teacher presents a board with a phrase or heading to indicate the purpose (e.g. “The Snack I Want Is…”, “The Activity I Want to Do Is…”) with icons or images that represent familiar people, objects, and activities attached to it. The student then points to or physically hands the image of their choice to another person. When a student makes a choice, the teacher either immediately honors the student’s choice or informs the student when the activity or object will be available. Choice Boards give students more autonomy over their academic and social environments. While this strategy can be used with all students, it is particularly helpful for students who need support with expressive language (i.e. mentally retrieving vocabulary), as well as those who do not have vocal language (i.e. students who are unable to speak out loud).

Ready-to-Use Resources

Self-Regulation Tool

Classroom Choice Boards

Customizable choice board templates with pictures and text. The resource contains choice boards for classroom activities.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages


Self-Regulation Tool

Preferred Activity Choice Board

Customizable choice board template with pictures and text. This resource contains activity options that students can select during free times or as a reinforcer during preferred activity time.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Self-Regulation Tool

Calming Activities Choice Board

Customizable choice board template with pictures and text. This resource contains a choice board with calming activities to help students self-regulate their emotions.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Self-Regulation Tool

Outside Activities Choice Board

Customizable choice board template with pictures and text. This resource contains a choice board for activities that can be done outside during recess or other free times.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Self-Regulation Tool

Lunch Time Choice Board

Customizable choice board template with pictures and text. The resource contains options to help students make food selections during lunch.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Self-Regulation Tool

Blank Choice Board Template

A blank choice board template in which pictures and/or words can be added.

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages


Implementation Tips

Ensure Availability of Choices
Present students with choices that can be made available quickly and easily. Immediately honoring choices will increase student buy-in and provide natural reinforcement for using the Choice Board. Design Choice Boards so that options can be removed or covered up when not available.
Physical Objects Choice Board
Use actual objects as "choices" instead of images or icons to support students who are still developing tangible object/symbol relationships. Teachers can simply place the objects in front of the student or velcro them onto an enlarged board. For example, a teacher can place a jump rope and a miniature slide on a choice board for recess activities.
Peer-to-Peer Communication
Give students activity specific Choice Boards to facilitate interaction and communication with peers. For instance, give students a choice board during recreational time to communicate with one another about which activities they would like to engage in. During class time, provide academic or activity-specific Choice Board to communicate with peers.
Graduating to Words and Phrases
Plan to replace images with words and phrases. Once students are completely familiar with the options on a choice board, pictures can be replaced with words and phrases. Doing so provides a highly motivating context for students to understand and use written language. To aid learning, place picture choices in the same order for a period of time before replacing the pictures and replace one picture at a time.
Impromptu Choice Board
Create Choice Boards in situations where students have the opportunity for making choices but there is no Choice Board available. Write the title on a piece of paper and draw or write the available choices. Ask the student to circle their choice or read the choices aloud and have the student indicate what choice he/she would like.
Replacement Choice Boards
Make extra copies of boards and removable icons if used. Keep the extra copies handy for quick replacement in the event that the materials get lost or destroyed. Quick replacement of Choice Boards ensures that the student maintains their ability to make choices and communicate.

Examples

Behavior Plans
A student with a behavior plan earns points for attentive listening and can exchange them for a self-selected reward. At the beginning of class, the teacher provides the student with a Choice Board with the heading, "Once I have earned \_\_\_\_ points, I can have \_\_\_\_\_\_." with various words and phrases of student-preferred objects and activities written below it. The student indicates their choice by writing the name of the desired object or activity in the blank space in the header. Throughout the day, the teacher offers positive praise and points when the student demonstrates attentive listening. Once the student has earned enough points, their chosen activity is made immediately available. Afterwards, the student chooses another object or activity to work towards for their next interval.
Music
During music class, a teacher walks around the room with a choice board of icons for various musical instruments (e.g. recorder, maracas, tambourine, drum). Each student takes the icon for the instrument of their choice. Once the all of the students have made their choice, the teacher walks around and exchanges the instrument for the icon.
Choice of Activity
Once a student has finished his academic assignment, the teacher presents a choice board to the student with two choices, a picture of a student running on the playground and a picture of a student putting a puzzle together. The asks the student, "What do you want to do next?" and the student points to the puzzle option. The teacher has the student select a puzzle from the bookshelf and the student works on this activity for the remainder of the class period.
Ordering Food
A teacher takes two students to a restaurant for lunch, one student with vocal communication skills, one who uses pictures and icons to communicate. The teacher brings along a Choice Board labeled with the heading, "I would like to order..." with [[https://images.boardmakeronline.com/thumbnails/271CE80E3A47BAE519B8449F347FE219.png?h=393&w=491|several icons of menu options]] attached to it with velcro. The student selects various food icons and attaches them to a [[http://www.pecsaustralia.com/catalog/images/small%20sentence%20strip%20w%20pics.jpg|communication strip]] and gives it to the cashier to order.

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