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Shake Up Learning Show

Mar 31, 2020

Complete show notes with screenshots and templates available here.

As we all find new ways to teach and learn during this unprecedented time, I want to share how you approach home learning with choice boards during school closures.

In this episode with classroom teacher, Laura Steinbrink, you will learn how she is using choice and flexibility to reach the needs of her students.

Laura is creating a week's worth of activities on one choice board with both online and offline options to make sure everything is equitable.

She is even sharing her activities and templates. You don't want to miss this episode!

But first…


Shoutout to all of the amazing educators in the Shake Up Learning Facebook group, helping each other, sharing ideas, and collaborating. Join us here. (It's FREE!)

Quick Tip of the Week:

This week, I want to hear from YOU! Let's all share what home learning looks like and jump on this Flipgrid to share your workspace, your struggles, your triumphs, and your lesson ideas.

Home Learning with Choice Boards During School Closures

(This interview was recorded on March 19, 2020.)

Today, I am chatting with my friend and colleague, Laura Steinbrink. Laura is a high school teacher with 24 years of experience and is currently teaching in Plato, Missouri, as well as the communications director and softball coach for her district. She wears many hats in her small, rural school district.

Laura has always integrated technology in her classroom. Her students have been using Google Classroom and many other digital tools during the regular school year. So they already understand how to use many different tools.

It's also worth noting that at the time of this interview, state testing was still on the table. But very soon after we wrapped up, Laura received the news that it had been waived.

Laura's school district is closed, like many across the world, due to the coronavirus. Teachers were given a very short amount of time to plan for home learning. Many students do not have devices or internet access, so they had to provide paper packets that were hand-delivered to their students with an entire week's worth of assignments.

The teachers were told they had to give both online and offline options for the activities they provide students during this time. Any students with IEPs must be supplied with paper modifications.

Teachers at Laura's school district were told, "Whatever you do CAN be done digitally, but MUST be offered on paper."

Laura also happens to be married to the Technology Director for her school district, Cayl Steinbrink, and he has been working with Computers for Learning, a federal government program, to get discounted equipment for their schools.

Cayl has also accepted some basic facts around this idea of home learning. He says, "We cannot hold students accountable for the work they are going to have to do at home." We cannot control that environment. We can have expectations, but we need to have some grace with that.

We have to remember that even students who have access may have limitations, connectivity issues, limited data, and limited devices.

Laura recommends that we don't overwhelm students (and parents) with everything you send home. This is a different learning environment, and we want to make sure it is still manageable and valuable.

Laura has been using the Shake Up Learning Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Board Template to drive her lessons for the week (see below for template). This will keep things simple for students and parents, and save some paper. (Learn more: Interactive Choice Boards with G Suite (FREE Templates).)

Each square is worth 20 points, in hopes they will complete five for a completion grade. We cannot grade things as we would under normal circumstances. (If you haven't read Grace is Greater Than Grades, it will help put things in perspective.)

FREE Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Board Template (Google Docs)

CLICK HERE to Make a Copy | CLICK HERE to Use the Template

Please DO NOT request access. You do not need it to be shared with you. You just need to make a copy or use the template link to add it to your Google Drive.

Laura is giving her students nine choices and not forcing the actual 3-choice tic-tac-toe completion. Instead, she is giving students 20 points for each square they complete. In each square, there is an online choice and offline choice.

If students choose the online option, they also have the choice of tools. These are tools that Laura has used with them in school. They are not new to her students. Use the tools your students know!

Each of the choice boards is aligned to the standards and learning goals for that subject and grade level.

Students completing offline activities will turn those into the school.

Students completing the online activities are curating each activity they complete on a page, like Adobe Spark, Google Sites, etc. This way, as the teacher, she only has to collect ONE link online through the Google Classroom assignment.

Laura's Figurative Language Choice Board for Home Learning (High School, Google Docs)

CLICK HERE to Make a Copy | CLICK HERE to Use the Template

Laura's Mythology Heroes Choice Board (High School, Google Docs)

CLICK HERE to Make a Copy | CLICK HERE to Use the Template

Laura's Masque of the Red Death Choice Board (High School, Google Docs)

CLICK HERE to Make a Copy | CLICK HERE to Use the Template

Laura's Spanish Stem Changing Verbs Choice Board (High School, Google Docs)

CLICK HERE to Make a Copy | CLICK HERE to Use the Template

Blogging with Google Classroom

Laura also shared a great technique for using Google Classroom as a way to link and organize student blogs. Check out her post for details on how she makes this work!

Other Resources Shared in this Episode

About Laura Steinbrink

Twitter: @SteinbrinkLaura


Laura Steinbrink, a teacher for 24 years, presents technology and instructional practices at workshops locally, around her state, and nationally. She is also the Technology Integration Coach, Communications Director, Webmaster, yearbook adviser, esports GM, and high school English/Spanish teacher for the Plato R-V School District. Laura is the author of, a Feedspot Top 200 blog in Education, and she has published articles for Ditch That Textbook, Instant Relevance, ISTE, ISTE TEN, Kahoot, Getting Smart, Classtime, and other educational related companies. Laura is also a contributing author in Focused Environments, Stories of Change Vol 3, published by Connected Learning, and In Other Words: Quotes That Push Our Thinking by Rachelle Dene Poth, published by Edumatch Publishing. Laura’s work in the classroom was also featured in ISTE’s Empowered Learner Magazine, What Works: Sketchnoting engages students while building comprehension.