I became very interested in learning menus when my sister suggested that I use it to create a lesson plan. My sister teaches 8th grade language arts and told me her students really loved it. I had a lot of fun making a learning menu for my differentiated lesson plan regarding Black History Month in high school art class. In the current education class I am in, we started to talk about project based learning. I got to thinking that not only are learning menus great for differentiated learning, but they are perfect for project based learning as well.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of learning menus they are way for students to choose how they want to learn. It is set up like an actual restaurant menu with appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Each appetizer, entree, and dessert section will consist of multiple projects and activities students can choose from based off their interests. Most menus require students to do however many projects it takes for students to reach a certain amount of points. Many menus are based off of Bloom Taxonomy with lower level thinking activities in the appetizers (worth maybe 5 points) and higher level activities in the dessert section (worth more points).
I wanted to learn more about what learning menus look like in classrooms and how students react to them. I found a video of a 7th grade social studies teacher named Mary Vagenas using this concept. This shows that learning menus are compatible with any content area. Her students seemed to really enjoy the learning menus as well because they got to work at their own pace, they had more options, and they understood the material better.
This goes to show that using projects to learn is one of the most successful ways for students to successfully master material. And learning menus are a perfect way to provoke project based learning.
Link to video:
Below is an example of a learning menu. This is the one I created for my Black History Month lesson: