Thursday, September 17, 2015

Teacher vs. Students: The Game Where Everyone WINS!

Image from Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching
Recently I read a blog post that claimed that the Scoreboard game was not good teaching practice and expects students to fail.  While citing TeachHub as a source to explain the game, the author and TeachHub were misinformed about the appropriate way to conduct the Scoreboard game.

Today, I'm going to take some time to refute the negative claims against the Scoreboard game and explain why it encourages student growth and engagement.

Let me start off by explaining the rules of the Scoreboard game.  Draw on the board a smiley face and a frown face or I use T vs. S.  Every time the students do great they get a point.  Every time they don't meet expectations I get a point.  Here is where some teachers may play the game incorrectly:

  • The goal is not to beat the students.  Instead it is to push students to try to beat you, by meeting the expectations established.  Set appropriate expectations that are obtainable and then keep raising the expectations bar to encourage them to keep getting better!
  • When either side gets a point it should be fun.  When the students earn a point they get a one second celebration.  When the teacher gets a point the students give a one second "Mighty Groan".  When I introduce this, we see how fast we can groan and how big we can make our shoulders shrug. We do not dwell on not meeting the expectation, but rather acknowledge the need for improvement. 
  • There are several ways to give both sides points in order to improve student effort. When students are trying hard, I might still give myself a point to encourage them to try even harder!  It's fun to see how much effort students will put forth in order to earn that point on their side.
  • Teacher points give the teacher an opportunity to reteach expectations. It might go something like this:  "Oh students we were not giving enough energy. Point for the teacher. (Mighty Groan) Let's try again. Great Improvement! Point for the students. (Oh Yeah!). It's almost like a ping pong effect. 
  • The teacher should never outright win.  The game should always be kept close (within 3 points) this encourages students to keep trying to better themselves to meet your expectation and also keeps you aware that you need to award students for their effort.
  • Lastly, you should NEVER single out students by name and then give the teacher a point.  A better way to address not meeting an expectation would be as follows: "Some of my friends were not fast enough. Point for the teacher! (Mighty Groan).  Awesome groan!  Point for the students! (Oh Yeah!)"
This classroom management strategy is about teamwork.  Everyone in the classroom works together for a common goal. The teacher is the facilitator to help students reach beyond what they know they are capable! 

Here's a link with the different varieties of the Scoreboard game, and here's a video from Chris Biffle about using the Scoreboard correctly! 

No comments:

Post a Comment