Unit 1: Sparking Excitement: The Value of Student Choice

Return to Reaching and Teaching Learners in a Hybrid School Model

Many Doors Many CHoices .jpg

Unit Overview

Unit at a Glance

This unit is the first and longest unit as it is one of the most powerful tools educators have to increase student participation. If you pause to reflect on your experience as a student - I am sure you can think of one teacher in your past that inspired you to love learning. In this unit, we will explore how to offer your student a degree of freedom to help them discover their own love of learning. In this unit will rely on you exploring the materials listed under Learning Activity. In this unit you will read at least two articles carefully, and use the link listed under Questions to describe 5 Reasons why offering students multiple ways of completing a learning objective has a positive impact on student engagement, and performance.

Think about it

Did you have any teachers growing up that make school exciting? What did they do to engage you? How might you transfer that practice to a virtual learning environment?

Learning Activity

Review the articles and videos below. For each item I have included a quote or description of the reading/video. As you read, consider how the ideas in the text, if implemented in your classroom, might change your practice.

When you are finished, use the link posted in the Questions section of this page to reflect on what you have learned.


File:To engage students, give them meaningful choices in the classroom.pdf
"Giving student real choices in the classroom — having to do with the material they study, the assignments they complete, the peers with whom they work, and so on — can boost their engagement and motivation, allow them to capitalize on their strengths, and enable them to meet their individual learning needs. But, like most teaching strategies, structuring choices for students can go very well, and it can go very badly — the nuances make all the difference."

The Role of Choice and Relevancy
"For students to thrive and achieve at high levels, they must be interested and emotionally invested in their learning. Why? Because motivation, or the desire that propels one to do something, leads to engagement, where students are being attentive to their tasks, putting forth positive effort, persisting through challenges, and advancing their ideas and understandings with a sense of intention."

Student Autonomy, Compliance, and Intrinsic Motivation
"Intrinsic motivation represents an orientation to make choices, along with the moral compass to make responsible choices. These are attributes that only accrue positively with practice, and trust, and adults' being willing to challenge their own comfort zones toward the greater good that may result for more children when they are less controlled and more autonomous around learning."

6 Strategies for Promoting Student Autonomy
"To be effective, these strategies must be taught and modeled. Introduce them as needed, and use those that suit your subject, students, and style. Students won’t become independent overnight, but in time and with practice, they can all learn how to help themselves."

Supporting Choice Reading for Students in Distance Learning
"Teachers can use remote reading conferences and online library explorations to ensure that students continue to build literacy skills."


The necessity of the student voice | Catherine Zhang
Here is a video featuring a student describing the impact that greater student autonomy had on her.

Students need to lead the classroom, not teachers | Katherine Cadwell
This video is a helpful overview of the impact of offering students choices.


Using the materials posted in the Learning Activity Section, describe 5 Reasons why offering students multiple ways of completing a learning objective has a positive impact on student engagement, and performance. Also, consider how you could include the strategies you explore in your own practice as an educator.
Click on the Link below, and answer the questions on google forms
Reflection Link

Next Unit

Unit 2: Sparking Excitement: Eliminating Distractions