When we adjusted to virtual learning in the spring, the schedule we were given was a nightmare for teachers of electives, and the students who love their classes. Four days a week were devoted to “Core Subjects,” while all electives (even core subject electives) were relegated to Fridays. Our students have 7 classes, so it is inevitable that there were scheduling conflicts.
In addition to scheduling conflicts with other classes, let’s also consider that students were not necessarily in an environment conducive to learning. They were sharing space, devices, and broadband, with their families. Some were taking care of ill relatives or younger siblings, while others were going to work because their parents had been laid off. It was unreasonable to expect students to be able to attend class at a specific time. We have to be flexible.
Due to the copyright restrictions on textbooks and scripts in a digital medium, it was not possible to continue with our planned script analysis for 4th quarter. Since students’ grades could not be negatively impacted, it would also be very easy for them to check out if they weren’t interested. So, I decided to make a choice board for my students.
A choice board allows students to choose which activities they may complete in order to earn their grade. It just so happened that everyone and their brother was rushing to figure out how to continue creating in this new medium. I found so many new links to materials that would be useful in our new virtual classroom every day that it was actually quite overwhelming, just how much was out there- and free! So, I decided to take my resource to the next level.
You may have heard of hyperdocs- documents with links to a variety of outside resources to allow students to take their own learning journey. Instead of creating a single sheet doc, I decided to create a slideshow that would achieve the same thing. They key to making it work in a slideshow is to also link the slides to each other, so that students don’t have to scroll around a lot searching for something that interests them. How do you do that? It’s actually quite simple. When you insert a hyperlink in Google Slides, you can also link to other slides. The keyboard shortcut for inserting a hyperlink is Command-k on Mac, or CTRL-K on a Windows computer.
On the table of contents, there are hyperlinks to each of the categories for student choice activities. Clicking on these links will take students to a group of slides that may be of interest to them.
Once students get to the activity slide, they will find an activity, and links to all of the resources that they would need to complete the activity. Once they are done with the activity, they would submit whatever product they had created on Flipgrid, with the specific hashtag so that their classmates and I could quickly see what activities they’d completed. I also gave students the option to submit their work via email if they did not wish to share with their classmates for any reason. After submitting their assignments, their job was to view two of their classmates’ videos and provide productive feedback on the video.
Each slide had a couple of common items: links back to the Table of Contents, a title indicating what the activity was, or where the resources came from, and a hashtag and category for labelling/organizing their work on Flipgrid.
Helpful hints for creating a choice board:
- The hardest part of creating the choice board is planning it out. Start with deciding on categories and making the title slide, table of contents, and heading slides for each categories first.
- Add the hyperlinks to these slides so that they are all linked to each other.
- Create an activity slide, and copy/paste the hyperlinks to the table of contents from the other slides.
- For the remaining activity slides in that category, Duplicate the slide and change the content. The hyperlinks to table of contents and the how-to slide will still work.
- If you’re feeling fancy, change the colors on the slides for each category.
It’s that simple! But, if you’re still overwhelmed, you can borrow mine to copy for your own use. Here’s a link to view it: Copy of Hawk Drama 1 Choice Board
I am definitely NOT that awesome at graphics.
Check out SlidesGo for this amazing Google Slides template, and many, many more!