DIFFERENTIATE TO
MOTIVATE!
USING CHOICE MENUS
TO ENGAGE & CHALLENGE
EVERY STUDENT
By: Erica Hamer
WHY USE ACTIVITY MENUS?
 Choice
 Engagement
 Motivation
 Hands-On
 Student-Centered Individual
Needs
 Learning Styles  Independence
 Interests
 Differentiation
 Build Upon
 Readiness
Strengths
 Challenge
HOW HAVE YOU USED ACTIVITY
MENUS IN YOUR CLASSROOM?
 What
format did you use for your activity
menus?
 What
did you like best about using
activity menus in your classroom?
 What
were some obstacles that you
encountered using activity menus?
5 MENU TYPES

Tic-Tac-Toe Menu

List Menu

2-5-8 (or 20-50-80) Menu

Game Show Menu

Baseball Menu
Each menu type has different benefits, limitations,
& time considerations
TIC-TAC-TOE MENU

Description:



Benefits:




8 Predetermined choices + 1 free choice
All choices at same level of Bloom’s, carry same
weight for grading, & require similar time/effort
Flexibility to either cover 1 topic in depth or 3
different objectives by completing 1 activity in each
row or column
Student-friendly & easy to understand
Easy to grade
Limitations:
Only covers 1 or 3 topics
 Student choice limited to tic-tac-toe pattern


Time Considerations:

Short time period of 1-3 weeks
LIST MENU
OR CHALLENGE LIST

Description:




10 Predetermined choices + 1 free choice
Points per choice are based on level of Bloom’s
Choices require differing amounts of time/effort
Benefits:
Students like having control over their grades & the ability
to make up lost points by completing another choice
 In-depth study
 Higher & lower level activities for differing readiness levels


Limitations:




Only covers 1-3 topics
If 3 topics, objectives limited to individual student choices
Heavy teacher preparation of materials
Time Considerations:

2 weeks maximum
2-5-8 (OR 20-50-80) MENU

Description:
8 Predetermined choices to total 10 (or 100) points
 Point values of 2 (or 20), 5 (or 50), or 8 (or 80) based on
level of Bloom’s
 Choices require differing amounts of time/effort


Benefits:
Students like having control over their grades
 Students must complete at least 1 activity at a higher level
of Bloom’s


Limitations:
Only 1 topic, in depth
 No free choice
 Students complete only 1 higher level activity


Time Considerations:

1 week maximum
BASEBALL MENU

Description:
20 Predetermined choices
 4 different point values based on level of Bloom’s: singles,
doubles, triples, & home runs
 Students must complete __ # runs around all 4 bases for 100%
 Choices require differing amounts of time/effort


Benefits:
Students like having control over their grades
 Flexibility of many choices at each level
 Baseball theme can be used on bulletin board where students
move themselves through each base as a visual reinforcer


Limitations:
Only 1 topic, many objectives, in-depth
 1 free choice
 Heavy teacher preparation of materials & student work space


Time Considerations:

Longer period of time: 4-5 weeks
GAME SHOW MENU

Description:





3 predetermined choices + 1 free choice per topic/objective
Point values based on level of Bloom’s
Choices require differing amounts of time/effort
Students complete 1 activity per objective & set point
criteria
Benefits:
Students like having control over their grades
Flexibility of many choices at each level & students can
propose their own activity idea for each objective
 Individualized contracts for different learning levels
 Students must complete 1 activity for each objective



Limitations:


Students & parents must understand guidelines
Time Considerations:

Longer period of time: 4-6 weeks
VARIATIONS



Adjust any menu to fit the learning needs of your
students, your weekly schedule, & your grading
requirements
Create menus for different levels & assign based
upon unit pre-test data to ensure advanced
students are adequately challenged & struggling
students are remediated without becoming
frustrated
Break down amount of time allowed to complete
activities into days/hours to help students
manage their work time
DIFFERENTIATION:
CHALLENGE WITHOUT FRUSTRATION OR BOREDOM




All students should NOT be required to do same activities
because all students are NEITHER on the same level, NOR
do they have the same learning style
No student should be required to do MORE or LESS
activities, instead require DIFFERENT rows/menus by
increasing/decreasing challenge level of activities
Every student must be allowed to complete work at their
OWN ability level- provide NO student activity choices too
difficult or too easy for THEIR current level of
understanding
Provide remedial activity choices that struggling students
can complete INDEPENDENTLY
USE PRE-TEST DATA




Determine specific learning goals of unit
Design a brief pre-test to determine individual
challenge level for each unit
Pre-test at least 1 week before unit so you have
time to use data to create appropriately leveled
activities
What are some possible pre-test data sources for
specific skills that your school already uses?
(Edusoft; Star-Math/Reading; KidBiz; Dibels;
LEAP/iLEAP; Iowa; Tiers 1,2,3)
DESIGNING ENGAGING ACTIVITIES
List activities suggested in the curriculum
 Google unit focus for activity ideas from other
teachers
 Explore Pinterest.com for hands-on activities &
games that meet learning objectives
 Adapt activities in “extension” section of textbook
chapter or teacher’s manual
 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) &
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
(NCTM) website lesson plan collections
 NationalGeographic.com Xpeditions activities
 Build ideas upon Product Criteria Cards

APPROPRIATE RIGOR
Adjust challenge level based upon your students’
readiness & depth of understanding of unit skills
 Increase rigor on activities for advanced students
 Decrease rigor for struggling students- activities
should reinforce basic skills yet not mastered

3 Menu Rigor Levels:
 Below Grade Level- Remediation- Unsatisfactory
or Approaching Basic- Bloom’s Remember or
Understand
 On Grade Level- Basic- Bloom’s Apply or Analyze
 Above Grade Level- Acceleration- Mastery or
Advanced- Bloom’s Evaluate or Create
MAKE & TAKE: TIC-TAC-TOE MENU




Specific Learning Goal- Informational Text: Range of
Reading and Level of Text Complexity CCR Anchor
Standard 10: Read and comprehend complex literary and
informational texts independently and proficiently.
Brainstorm activities for your grade/subject for a variety of
learning styles & interests on sticky notes (see product
criteria cards for ideas)
Design increases & decreases in rigor according to your
students’ readiness levels
Rearrange activity sticky notes on Menu board(s) & decide
on appropriate assignment pattern for your
above/on/below-level students
SOURCES
ONLINE RESOURCES






Choice Menu Examples & Templates PDF
http://daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com/Choice+Boards
Choice Menus Templates & Activity Ideas
http://www.pvusd.k12.ca.us/departments/GATE/choiceboar
ds/MeaningfulMenus.pdf
Dinner Learning Menu: Appetizer, Entrée, & Dessert
http://differentiationkit.wikispaces.com/Dinner+Menus
5 Minute Video for Teacher: Using Dinner Learning Menu
https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/differentiatinginstruction-strategy
Differentiated Assessment Article: Motivation &
Engagement with Homework Menus
http://whatworks.wholechildeducation.org/blog/fromdifferentiated-instruction-to-differentiated-assessment/
Differentiated Instruction Handouts
http://www.k8accesscenter.org/online_community_area/Diff
erentiatedInstructionHandouts.asp
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