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Wrap Up the Year with Choice Boards

I think it’s time to bring back the Q&A style blog I originally started with. Most of us have made it over the hump of figuring out emergency remote learning. If you are still struggling, please look back at some of my previous posts. Let’s all finish the year strong together!

Dear Dr. Laura

We’re at the end of the school year and I want to finish strong. I’m not as overwhelmed anymore, but I am feeling everyone’s tiredness around me. I want to come up with something fun for the kids as we wrap up the year. Any ideas?


Strong Librarian!

Hi! Thanks for reaching out and congratulations on making the choice to finish strong! I think many educators’ plans loosened some over the last couple of months as we saw the stress that families were under. And many of us were experiencing the same level of stress in our own homes. We’ve risen to the challenges and decided to change our view to be one of seeing opportunities and finding the silver linings.

This week’s podcast interview showcased librarian Karey Killian who challenged us to be sure to have fun learning. She shared some simple ideas of how she is letting the students suggest things they would like to do and then she works to make their ideas happen.

One simple idea you can use to finish strong is to create Choice Boards. Have you heard of these? You can think of these as a simple graphic organizer that educators fill up with ideas related to the concept or theme they are focused on. It looks similar to a Bingo grid with words filling up all the squares.

Choice Boards can cover a particular concept or even a learning goal. They are designed to stimulate learning and can even provide students the opportunity to practice or master that subject. You can even use them to wrap up a specific period of time, like the end of the semester/year. Choice Boards can be set up with broad topics that easily allow students to accommodate for their preferred learning style or choose the learning supports they need to be successful. Try your best to include visual, auditory, read-write and kinesthetic choices. How you choose to set up the board can even push students to explore a learning style they may not be as strong with. Hopefully all these pieces work together to increase student engagement.

Some people use 9 boxes in a 3x3 grid. They fill the boxes with student choices and challenge the students to get a tic-tac-toe this week or a blackout in 2 weeks or 1 month, etc.

Some people make all the boxes have a point value. They could all be worth the same point value, for example each box completed is worth 10 points. Or you could assign higher values to more complex tasks you ask the students to do. Challenge the students to earn 50 points this week or 100 points before the end of school.


So, I send you kudos for thinking about students and their families’ stress levels. We can keep learning and providing opportunities for our students to learn. But, we can also do it in a more cognizant way where we keep our students‘ and their families’ well-being in mind.

Finish strong and work with others around you to help them finish strong as well!

Dr. Laura

Have you met the Karey Killian? a library media specialist in rural Pennsylvania. She supports 900 students at two elementary schools. She loves seeing the joy on their faces when they make new discoveries! Click here to listen to her interview now.

I also want to encourage you to nominate yourself or another librarian for a future interview with me. Submit their contact info here.

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