Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Power of the Scoreboard

One of the cornerstones of WBT is the scoreboard.  It is so simple, but so powerful.  It brings an energy to the classroom that I never had before.  It keeps the class on their toes and keeps them engaged.  Best of all it is an easy way to manage behavior. 

In the past, I've tried recording points on the board to motivate students.  Just putting points on the board doesn't really work.  The WBT scoreboard takes into account how people are motivated.  According to the website:
One thing you must understand from the start is that you should not let the difference between smilies and frownies be greater than 3.  This is the +- 3 rule.   if you reward too much your students will become lackadaisical. If you penalize too much, they will become resentful.  That is the reason for the +-3 rule.
Smilies and frownies will build quickly at first, but fall off as your students get better at procedures.
As with everything WBT, I think, "Wow! That is so simple, yet so true!"  I have found that the scoreboard was key in teaching procedures at the beginning of the year and so helpful at maintaining discipline even in these last few weeks.

I have to admit that when I'm in a bad mood or not feeling well, I really don't want to deal with the scoreboard.  It takes a conscious effort to use the scoreboard and sometimes I just want to get through the day and not have to think too much.  I've been super-stressed the past few weeks, and have fallen into a slump.  On Thursday I decided to bring it up a notch and really focus on the scoreboard.  It was so much fun!  In the first hour of school we had a total of twenty points on the board.  I just can't tell you how exciting and uplifting it is to have all 20 students cheering their success in unison.  The more points the better.  It keeps the students on the edge of their seats and brings in a level of excitement and intensity to the classroom.  It makes the students happy, keeps them in line, and prevents me from reverting back to hypertension-inducing practices like yelling and griping at the kids. 

My only problem with the scoreboard is the physical constraint of having to be nearby to mark points.  My white board is usually covered by the screen pulled down in front of it for the projector.  Half way through the year I decided to change to a mini, hand-held whiteboard that I can carry around.  It definitely helps...but I already have a problem with losing things frequently.  Maybe I just need to hang one around my neck so that I can't walk away from it!  Fellow Wibbeteers, does anyone else have this problem?

In my ideal world I would have a monitor on the wall exclusively used to project a digital scoreboard.  Then I would have a remote control in my pocket so that I could easily access it at any point in the classroom.  Maybe I should ask my techy brother to work on this for me. :)

1 comment:

  1. I am right there with you! I don't have a solution yet either... other than I usually have a clipboard and one of my student jobs is to be the "Clipboard Master" - that kid always has to know where the clipboard is. It helps.