#ISTE19 – Digital Differentiation with Learning Menus with Kasey Bell

It’s #ISTE19 time, and that means I get to start learning from amazing educators back-to-back. I’m starting my learning journey this year with the amazing Kasey Bell presenting on Learning Menus.

As usual, Kasey owns the stage with her soothing southern accent and TONS of shared resources, mixed with hidden Google tips and tricks.

Link to her slide deck so you can look through it if you would like.

I really enjoy the use of learning menus. The idea is to incorporate student choice directly into assignments, but her incorporation of basic kids games are an engaging twist. Imagine a tic-tac-toe board where each of the nine squares is a different assignment showing evidence of learning. Then, students pick three assignments of the nine to connect three and prove their learning.

The beauty of this is that it easily gives students choice. in the kinds of assignments they get to use to learn or prove their learning.

Kasey also shared some interesting tips to consider when using learning menus:

  • Give students a solid deadline (number of minutes) to choose their activities from the menu.
  • Make sure you are not using the activitiy just because you found it online. Make sure it matches your learning!
  • Use a non-negotiable activity to ensure all students meet specific requirements.
  • Start small. Do not give students a Bingo Board the first time where they need to make five choices. Do a choice board that has them make two choices (like a tic-tac-toe board with the center square required).
  • Your high achieving students are likely to struggle because they are used to the game of school and this goes against it.

That last point seems most critical to me. Any time we can disrupt the game of school, we are probably doing the right thing. Even if it fails in your classroom, they are getting the game of school in their other classrooms, so something different is good for their life and future.

Kasey also talked a little about rubrics, and made a great point. She said that rubrics are not for the teacher to use for grading, they are for the students to understand the expectations. If you are using rubrics with grading in mind first, then you are missing the point. Rubrics should be for students, so they understand what you are expecting, how they are expected to learn.

Overall, great session and an excellent way to start my #ISTE19 experience! I’ll definitely be trying to checkout her live podcast recording on Tuesday.