Presenter: David Sebek, Joe Bernhart, Troy Drayton
T-TESS Domain: Planning 1.3
Grade Level: Elementary & Secondary
Hours: 1

If variety is the spice of life, choices are the avenue for expressing our unique personalities and preferences. Choices in the classroom allow students to engage in their learning with a unique and personalized approach. Guided by the teacher, choices motivate students to engage more deeply with the curriculum than a one-size-fits-all approach. In “Improving Student Engagement Through Choice,” teachers will learn three simple ways choice can be built into their lesson planning in order to increase student buy-in in the classroom.

This course specifically addresses the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). 

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A world without choices would be a world more suited to robots than to human beings. After all, an ice cream shop that only sold one flavor would not stay in business very long! Choices in the classroom enable students to build on their strengths and to experience learning in a way that is unique to their experiences. Choice raises students’ investment in the content of lessons by helping them to connect more personally with the curriculum than a “one-size-fits-all” approach that feels impersonal. In addition, providing choice in the classroom helps break through the routine of classroom life that often leads students to tune out.

In this 1-hour course, teachers will:

  • Learn how choice enhances relevance and motivates students to engage in the curriculum.
  • Practice tools for building choice into the content, process, and product of the unit study
  • Have the opportunity to view three demonstrations using choice in various classroom settings

This course specifically addresses the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). 

Presenter Bio

David Sebek is co-founder of GT Innovators which was formed in 2011 by three educators who wanted to change the world of professional development for teachers. David has been offering unique professional development solutions to school districts in and around the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Mr. Sebek was the 2011 TAGT State Teacher of the Year for the Gifted and have coached various problem solving teams to Regional, State and International Competitions through Destination Imagination and Future Problem Solvers. 

Joe Bernhart is an author, speaker, and expert in researching and implementing curriculum with a focus on creativity, differentiation, and the social/emotional needs of GT students with an ever-developing expertise on their nature and needs as well. Building on over a decade of previous experience working in an inner city middle school in Houston ISD as a teacher, English department chair, parent coordinator, and Title I coordinator, Mr. Bernhart’s expertise transcends and traverses content areas and demographic definitions, allowing him to be part of a team that offers high quality professional development to meet the diverse needs of teachers in diverse settings. 

Troy Drayton has thirteen years of experience teaching in public schools, with 8 years as English/Language Arts (ELA) Department Head. Mr. Drayton has a Bachelor’s degree in English Composition and Language with an emphasis on Linguistics and a minor in Music from the University of North Texas. He completed his Master’s degree in Administrational Leadership and Supervision from the University of Houston in 2008, but has remained in the classroom because teaching is his true passion. 

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29 reviews for Improving Student Engagement Through Choice



  2. Kimberly – New Lexington City Schools (verified owner)

    This course gave some interesting thoughts about allowing for choice by the students.

  3. Sherry – Mobile County School District (verified owner)

    This was relevant for me. My students generally like to have choice in their assignments, especially in the product. This also challenges me to add more choice in the content and process as well.

  4. Emily – SCHERTZ-CIBOLO-U CITY ISD (verified owner)

    It was good with many examples.

  5. Melida – WESLACO ISD (verified owner)

    Easy to follow along. Short and to the point. No fluff!

  6. Silvia – WESLACO ISD (verified owner)

    Good information.

  7. Patricia – HUMBLE ISD (verified owner)

    I enjoyed this course. It was very concise and to the point. The course being connected to one of the T-Tess domains was very helpful.

  8. Demi – PORT NECHES-GROVES ISD (verified owner)

    effective course

  9. Jeffrey – EANES ISD (verified owner)

    It was good. Quick and to the point. No time wasting anecdotes.

  10. Elizabeth – ALAMO HEIGHTS ISD (verified owner)

    very important information

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