How to Use Choice Boards to Differentiate Learning

A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose different ways to learn about a particular concept. Choice boards are set up in a grid, generally with 9 squares. You can include more or fewer activities, but I’ve found 9 to be a good number.

In addition, you can require that students complete items from the choice board in a specific way, such as choosing three choices in a row, or you can let students choose at random. The level of difficulty of the activities can vary or stay consistent.

A Choice Board Example

I created the art history choice board below as an early finisher activity for my art students. If a student finishes a project before the class is ready to move on, they must choose an activity from the board. The activities on this choice board all have a similar level of difficulty.

{click to download a PDF of your own copy!}

In addition, there is another choice board included in the amazing set of downloads found in the Methods for Early Finishers PRO Learning Pack! The Learning Pack is designed to help you support your early finishers through choice and differentiation. Choice boards are just the beginning!

Creating Your Own Choice Board

If you want to create a choice board for your classroom, keep these 4 things in mind:

  1. Each choice board should revolve around a single concept or learning expectation.
  2. Each square should contain an activity that is related to one of the multiple intelligences so that all students can find something that fits how they learn best.
  3. If you want students to complete multiple activities on the choice board, have them complete three activities in a row. Be sure to put the most fun activity in the center!
  4. The majority of the activities should be able to be completed individually. The exception would be the interpersonal square.

Personally, I keep the choice board attached to a bulletin board at the back of the classroom. There is also a folder with detailed instructions for each activity on the bulletin board so that students can work independently. Although the sample in this article was created for middle schoolers, you could certainly adapt it for older or younger students!

Have you ever used a choice board in your art classroom?

If you created a choice board for your classroom, what concept or topic would you choose?

Cassidy Reinken


This article was written by former AOE writer and life-long learner, Cassidy Reinken.


  • erica

    This is an amazing idea! I would like to do this for a whole unit. I think it would take my students a very long time (say 3 weeks) to accomplish something like this even scaled down a lot. I am wondering if you have any examples of elementary art choice boards because I’m having a hard time imagining what they would look like. Maybe it would be interesting to try with a higher level 5th grade group.

    • Thanks Erica!  If you use a
      choice board with elementary students, I suggest you use pictures and fewer
      words. Be sure to include activities that students can complete independently.  Keep your eye out for a future post of an
      elementary level choice board! 

      • Bri_balboni

        I wold love to hear more thoughts about making this work for elementary!!

    • I agree! This is a cool idea, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this idea for elementary kids. I’m thinking maybe it could be more like kits that the students could take back to their seats. Like, a bag of modeling clay with a sheet of sculpting challenges, or a bag of tangrams with some shapes to make. Or perhaps a packet of 5 “finish the drawing” pages or something. The wheels in my head are turning! :)

  • Thanks so much for sharing! I will try this one out with my middle schoolers! I think choices make the world of difference with my students’ level of motivation. 
    I love how you have each box labeled with what type of multiple intelligence it is- Genius!
    A math teacher and I this past Spring created a Tic-Tac-Toe board for a Tessellation project we did.  Here is the link to the board  We could edit it next go around by labeling for multiple intelligences!

    Thanks again!

  • I also see this as an advocacy tool. How great would parents and administration feel knowing you are thinking about and aiming to help kids learn in ways that best fit their learning style! It’s powerful, and the kids will be more engaged this way. I am also thinking of ways to use this with the lower level students, It would have to be much simpler, like a way to share your artwork with a friend. 

  • Cathy

    I LOVE this idea! What a great concept for middle school students and even high school students as well. I think many of us differentiate in many ways and this is one way that provides a concrete way to differentiate, plus it gives the student more ownership because they get to pick how to go about their project/assignment. My mind is already spinning with other ways to use something like this in my classroom.

    Like Jessica, I am already thinking how I could implement this with lower elementary. Definitely would have to be much simpler but could be done with a unit on color or something like that.

    • My mind was also spinning when I was introduced to Choice Boards. There are so many ways to use them! A unit on color would be a great start!

  • JanVG

    I  would REALLY like more information on this concept since I teach Middle School. It would provide more of a challenge for those who really need it.

  • Lstone

    Cool idea!  This is something I am going to try this year.

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  • Erin Suman

    Hi Cassidy,

    Great article! Thank you for sharing this idea. Would you be able to share the individual instructions that go along with each option? Do you have a TPT account? I would pay you for them.