Strategy

Menu of Choices

UDL 4.1

A menu of choices is a strategy in which a student is given multiple options for how to approach and carry out a task. Teachers can use a menu of choices to involve students in a decision for how to express their learning at the end of a single lesson. Teachers can also offer a menu of choices for more comprehensive tasks at the end of a unit of study. These choices invite students to become a part of the decision-making process, empowering them to take some ownership over their learning and work habits. Allowing students to choose the task that most closely resonates with their preferred mode of expression.

Implementation Tips

When using a menu of choices for the first time, it may be more manageable to practice the strategy with a small set of students, utilizing student-teacher conferences to execute the strategy.
It may take some time for students to learn what choices are optimal for their preferred learning styles. Be prepared to provide students with guidance while still allowing them to be the decision-makers. Try teaching students to recognize their own preferred learning styles and forms of expression.
It is important that the choices you offer are high-quality. Be aware of the level of rigor involved in each choice so that you can make intentional choices. As some opportunities for choices occur unexpectedly, such as when a student is having a very difficult time beginning a task, it's good to have a list of go-to choices.
When using a menu of choices for more comprehensive tasks, take care to carefully plan the options. They should never be an afterthought. Include criteria for measuring less traditional tasks that reflect the criteria that would be measured on a more traditional assessment.
Check out these [[http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/nagc_choice_menus.pdf|choice menu examples]] from the University of Virginia. The resource includes a blank menu of choices that can be customized for your own class.

Examples

Lower Elementary
When reading independently in class, there may be students who are reluctant to read while not being individually monitored. The teacher can improve the odds that this class time is well spent, and that the ultimate goal of reading practice is reached, by providing these students with a menu of additional reading choices, such as following along while listening to an audiobook or participating in paired reading with a classmate.
Upper Elementary
Following a unit of study about graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, the teacher can offer students a menu of choices to demonstrate their learning. Option could include: a traditional assessment, the opportunity to create a map with a key of coordinates, or they could create a list of prompts and an answer key that peers could use to practice the skill.
Middle School
Teachers can offer students a menu of options when demonstrating their ability to determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text. For example, students could elect to write an objective summary of the text, create a graphic novel illustrating the theme, or deliver a poster presentation of the theme.
High School
Often, students may be given a menu of choices when it comes to which tasks to complete, allowing for different avenues of expression. For instance, in math class, the teacher may offer the choice of either completing 5 mathematical proofs, engage in a real-life project based learning task, or teach peers about the current concept.

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