Playlists VS Menus

Delivering instruction in a blended classroom requires us, as educators, to approach instruction from a different point of view. Our focus becomes how to meet the needs of our tiered learning groups. Playlists and menus are two vehicles to ensure you meet the requirements of a effective blended CIA (DIGITAL Curriculum, GUIDED Instruction, AUTHENTIC Assessment).

Playlists vs. Menus

Musical artists spend large amounts of time selecting the order of their tracks. Yet, listeners have the option of listening in the order of their choice. Such is the case with a PLAYLIST. Students have a list of tracks (i.e. tasks) to complete, but the order in which they complete them is all up to them.

Like the selections at your favorite restaurant, a MENU allows students to have a choice when selecting the components of the lesson they must complete. Students review a digital learning menu of choices and select components to create their perfect learning "meal".

The Playlist

The playlist model utilizes the components of an effective lesson (i.e. opener, direct instruction, etc.) and places them into a priority list. Instructors may determine the order for their students to complete the component or allow for choice just as a listener makes selections from a song playlist.

While students engage with the playlist independently, educators have the ability to pull small groups for targeted, guided instruction (i.e. scaffolding, enrichment, on-level support.)

Playlists can be created as a hyperdoc, on your classroom website, or on web-apps such as GoFormative.

View the template and make a copy to create your own instructional playlist.

Playlist Tips & Strategies:

  • Guided students through the playlist the first time it is implemented to review expectations.
  • Provide clear direction on expectations for each section of the playlists.
  • Use Google Classroom or Canvas messenger to communicate with targeted learning groups.
Click on the image to view the lesson plan template.

Playlist Resources

Learning Menus

Click on the image to view the lesson plan template.

While the menu model also utilizes the components of an effective lesson (i.e. opener, direct instruction, etc.) and places them into a list, the menu capitalizes on student choice. Instructors provide students several options to choose from for when engaging with parts of the lesson, just as a menu features appetizer, entrée , and dessert selections at your favorite restaurant.

The menu model allows students to independently interact with the direct instruction material and allows educators to pull small groups to target their instruction (i.e. scaffolding, enrichment, on-level support.)

Choice menus may also be displayed in a tic-tac-toe formation. In this format, students select a menu choice from each level of the menu to form three choices in a row.

View the Menu Lesson Planner template and make a copy to create your own instructional plan.

Menu Tips & Strategies:

  • Guided students through the menu the first time it is implemented to review expectations.
  • Provide clear directions within your menu, including the number of selections required.
  • Manage communication with learning groups within Google Classroom or Canvas messenger.
  • Make student navigation user friendly by posting menus on your class webpage or create a hyperdoc.

Learning Menus Resources

Menu Template

Click on the image to view the template.

Tic-Tac-Toe Template

Click on the image to view the template.