January Choice Board: Tips and Tricks for Implementation

Are you looking for ways to increase student voice and choice in your classroom? The New Year is a great time to try out something NEW with your students like this January Choice Board! Choice Boards are a great activity to add to your teacher bag of tricks. They can be used in so many ways- for homework, independent work, or even in a center rotation!


Not familiar with how Choice Boards work? Read on for some tips and tricks for using the January Choice Board!

What is a Choice Board?

A Choice Board involves a set of activities revolving around a particular topic. For the January Choice Board, the topic is out-of-the-ordinary holidays that occur in January. Students love learning about weird and wacky national holidays!

There are many different styles of Choice Boards out there. My Choice Boards all utilize the multiple intelligences. There are 8 different activities that each correspond with a different intelligence, or "smart." This allows students to find activities they are interested in based on their learning styles. As we all know, interest=engagement!

I am often asked if students must complete a multiple intelligence profile before using these Choice Boards. Although I think it is important for students to be informed about their learning styles, it is not necessary for them to take a formal MI survey to find these activities engaging! In my experience, students will gravitate towards the activities they are most interested in.

3 activities from the January Choice Board

How Do Choice Boards Benefit My Students?

Choice Boards are highly engaging for all types of learners. The activities may appear to be "fluffy" but require students to think critically and work with their peers on a variety of tasks. Here are some of the skills your students will use when working on Choice Boards:

Reading and Researching

Many of the Choice Board tasks require students to research a topic. This is a great way to practice proper search engine use and locating reliable sources. Additionally, you could up the rigor by finding reading passages related to the Choice Board topics!

Speaking and Listening

I always required my students to share out at least one of their completed Choice Board activities. Students tend to take their work more seriously if they know there is going to be an audience!

If you are worried about scheduling time to share activities, split it up! After the due date, have 2-3 students per day share their projects before lunch or dismissal. This way you are not losing valuable class time AND your students aren't bored by listening to people share their projects for a long period of time!


Many Choice Board activities include a writing component. This is a great way for your students to build writing stamina (without them realizing it)!


Most Choice Board activities can be adapted for use with partners or groups. It is vital that our students learn how to work together, and Choice Boards provide a fun, non-threatening way to do so! 

How Can I Use Choice Boards in My Class?

There are so many amazing ways to use choice boards in your classroom. Here are a few ways I might use the January Choice Board:

Early Finishers

There's always at least one student who is constantly saying, "I'm finished!" when others haven't even started. These activities are perfect for your fast finishers! They can work independently while you help the students who are still finishing up an assignment.

Independent Work/Centers

Try replacing your usual center rotations with a Choice Board. Students can work on the activities while you meet with small groups. Students will stay on task with these engaging activities!


Choice Boards are a great alternative to giving worksheets for homework. If you are in a school where you MUST give homework even though you don't believe it has any benefits, this may be the perfect solution! I often heard from my students's parents that they enjoyed working on Choice Boards as a family!

How Do I Use the January Choice Board?


Start out by giving each student a copy of the January Choice Board. I also like to give my students a copy of the rubric before they begin working on the tasks- this way they know exactly what they need to do to be successful!

Picture of January Choice Board Rubric

Easy differentiation idea- print Choice Boards out on different colored paper. Students with a blue paper need to complete 3 tasks, students with a yellow paper need to do 2, etc. This makes it easy to keep track of who is doing what! Before students begin, they should know how many activities they are responsible for and when their work is due.

Once your students have selected their activities, they will need the corresponding Activity Cards.

Picture of Activity Cards for January Choice Board Activities

There are several ways to utilize the cards:

  1. Print out the two Activity Card pages included and give a copy to each student. They will circle the directions they need.
  2. Print out several sets of cards and cut them out. Each student gets the individual Activity Cards they need.
  3. Project Activity Cards onto your whiteboard and review with the whole class before starting.
Activity Cards are great for our learners who struggle with completing things independently. The cards tell them exactly what is expected for each activity!

It's time to get started! Make sure each student has the Activity Sheets they need for the activities they selected.

Picture of the Art Smart Activity Sheet- New Hat Challenge

Each activity has a corresponding Activity Sheet. Some are graphic organizers or planning sheets, while others are intended to be the final product.

Here is a list of the activities included with the January Choice Board!

  • Art Smart- Hat Design Challenge (National Hat Day- see above photo!)
  • Word Smart- Word Cloud (National Thesaurus Day)
  • Logic Smart- Create a Puzzle (National Puzzle Day)
  • Self Smart- Handwriting Challenge (National Handwriting Day)
  • People Smart- New Year's Resolutions Debate (New Year's Day)
  • Body Smart- Spaghetti Art (National Spaghetti Day)*
  • Nature Smart- Local Bird Flipbook (National Bird Day)
  • Music Smart- Popcorn Rap (National Popcorn Day)
To see examples of many of these activities, check out the preview in my TpT store!

Picture of January Choice Board TpT Product

To help your students keep track of their papers, I would suggest each child having a designated Choice Board folder. Then, when it is time to collect, staple everything together-this will make grading a snap!

Picture of January Choice Board Elements ready for grading.

Do you think you'd like to try Choice Boards in your classroom? Let me know in the comments!

January Choice Board

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