Making A Leisure Choice
Our students typically have strong interests and prefer engaging in those interests when they have time to play. We have successfully used this type of choice board to encourage students to try something new. When the students have free time, they are shown the choices. For this student, the list includes written choices.
Students learn to pick one choice during their first break time and place that written word in the “My Choice” box. When break time is finished, the students move the written word into the “Finished” box. When it is time for the next break, they recognize that the first option chosen in no longer available in the “Today’s Choice” box and is finished for the day. The students then realize (after instruction in some cases) they must pick some other activity.
This structured routine, while giving several choices, leads to students’ expanding their interests. Choosing the same item for play may often be the result of comfort in sameness rather than truly enjoying the activity. We find that when students are guided to try a new leisure activity, they often like it and can add it to their interests. We also see fewer negative behaviors when students are able to see in advance what their choices are and when they will receive them. This takes away the often-enjoyable bartering!
For students who understand they are to make a choice but do not yet read, pictures or even objects can indicate the choices.
We teach our beginning students who find objects more meaningful than pictures or words to use an object choice-board. In this example, each of these objects represent a toy; two represent this child’s preferred toys. Our student chooses one item and gives it to the teacher who gives him the associated toy. Each item is removed once the student chooses and then plays with the toy. When the preferred choices are no longer available, the child must choose something different and, thus, learns to play with non-preferred toys.