I learned the “offer a choice of two” tip from a mom volunteer, who smoothly distributed about 5 flavors of popsicles with all students feeling like they had a choice in the treat they were given. I realized that offering a choice of 2 has many classroom management applications:
— It speeds up questioning that’s intended to keep the lesson going, not spark deep thought. “Should we put the apostrophe before or after the s?” instead of “Where should we put the apostrophe?”
— It gives students options without overwhelming them with choices: “Would you like to use markers or crayons?” instead of “What would you like to color with?”
— It offers students a pseudo-choice: “Would you like to calm down and do the activity with us, or refocus in another classroom?” instead of “Shape up or ship out.” (also a choice of 2, actually)
— It teaches kids to make a decision, then stick with it. Most decisions in life are not worth over-thinking. Your mom’s birthday card will look good whether you use red paper or pink. Just pick one!