I've been using the scoreboard for four days and it has literally changed the way I will teach forever. I couldn't believe that such a simple tool could so drastically alter the way that I run my classroom.
I have always thought that I had good classroom management. I've taken bits and pieces from books, conversations with other teachers, journal articles, conferences, etc., and managed to run my classroom pretty smoothly without any major issues. There were some days, however, where the last bell of the day would ring and I would flop down in my chair exhausted. After answering the same question over and over and over, or talking to the same students about their bad behavior, I had no energy left. These days didn't happen very often, but having these kinds of days at all was not acceptable to me. I've always believed that I can get better, and this was an area of focus for me.
After stumbling across WBT, and reading about the fundamentals, I was unsure that these ideas could really work in a middle school. I am so very glad that I decided to give them a try. Using the scoreboard in conjunction with the class-yes for only four days has made me a believer.
My students earn points for following directions quickly, giving a good "yes" as part of class-yes, or doing anything else well that I believe earns a point. I earn points whenever the students don't follow directions quickly, don't give a good "yes", etc. I've been careful to never allow the score to have a score deficit greater than three so as not to lose motivation. Mighty groans (one second parties that occur after I get a point) help to refocus negative behavior without me having to do anything negative! Instead of using proximity, eye contact, or any of the other teacher tricks we've all used a million times, all I have to do it walk up to the scoreboard and act like I'm grabbing a marker, and the STUDENTS redirect EACH OTHER.
My students are not only buying in, but are prompting each other! Each and every class period I've heard students reminding each other to be quiet, to take out materials, to follow the directions! Instead of saying things multiple times, I've given them motivation to listen the first time. I've given them motivation to stop talking the instant I say, "Class". And the best part is...I haven't even been using the more/less homework or free time part of the scoreboard. It's just been for "bragging rights".
Now if that isn't teacher heaven, I don't know what is. It's still early in the year, but I am so hopeful that using the variations and levels explained on the WBT website will help my students stay motivated to be 100% engaged and on task all year long.