Saturday, April 20, 2013

Week 8-It's Time for Levels

Originally published-March 3, 2013

Action Research Question “Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's CoreFour and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improve learning outcomes for all students?” This next week, my focus will be on adding Scoreboard Level Two: Practice Cards. Will the use of Practice Cards improve learning outcomes for some students? Well, this past week proved to be interesting. Three of my four classes are doing really well with the WBT strategies I have implemented since January 2013, and one class, well, let's just say, "It's time for levels!" Now, the other three classes are not perfect, no class is, but I will say what I am doing is working. They are responding well to WBT, they are reminding each other of the rules, they get upset when I get a point, they are doing their homework to earn a point, and they love the free minute they can earn if they are ahead of me in the scoreboard. There's an old saying that goes, "It it ain't broke, don't fix it!" This is the case with three of my four classes, and outside of my continual 'tweeking' of strategies, I'm not going to add levels if I do not need to. But, for my fourth class, that is not the case. I have students that are making noises, up out of their seats, talking, and it drove me up the wall last week. So, I am introducing Scoreboard Level Two to this class. I'm a bit apprehensive about doing so, but something has to be done. Individuals need practice with the rules. If anyone has implemented the Practice Card level of the Scoreboard and are willing to share your set up with me (what works/what doesn't), please do so because I'm looking for ideas. I have watched Coach B.'s Scoreboard video and read from the WBT manual, and this is what I am planning: 1. Assign each student a card (in a pocket). 2. Give white practice cards (placed in student pocket) when rule practice is needed. 3. Students must come to me during 7th period (what we call connections class and Fun Friday on Fridays) to practice the rule for two minutes (saying and gesturing). 4. A note must go home for students to alert their family they needed practice following a rule. 5. If student brings their family note back signed the white practice card is removed, if not the card remains. (If the card remains, do I have them practice the rule again or not?) 6. If students are following the troublesome rule, they get a purple card, and a positive note will be sent home. 7. Green cards are used to place on students desk if they need a reminder of following a rule. If students have parents that do not send notes back, they may be assigned a 'foster parent' at school to share notes and have them signed so they can return them to me and the white practice card can be removed. Note: No more than two practice cards will be given per day. Here is my concern: I'm concerned families will think I'm singling out their child. I have a class during seventh period, so that means, they will be practicing the rule while I have students in my class. For three of these days, they will be practicing the rule among students who rarely break rules. A fourth day would be practicing among students in their class, and on Friday's they would be practicing at our recess time we call "Fun Friday" time. I guess I will just see how it works. I could have them see me during my second period planning time, but it would be the next day. That is an option, too. If you have had success with practice time or have ideas for making this work well in a middle school setting, please let me know! My plan is to start small and work my way up these seven steps. I will work to use the white cards first and see how they go. I am also going to introduce and back up Scoreboard Level Two with the Super Improver Wall with this class. I really do not see how it would be possible for me to complete the SIW with all 85 of my students, so I have decided to use it with this class as well. I have my bulletin board set up with our 5 classroom rules, the Super Improver Wall levels (compliments of Teachers Pay Teachers), and a nice bright yellow shield (my school mascot is a knight) with student names on them. I purchased lots of stickers from Michaels, and the wall is ready to go. I had students write down 3-5 ways (on an index card) they, as an individual, can improve on. They gave me the index card, and they have the same information on a Post-It note in their interactive notebooks. I know I need to tell them, specifically what I want them to work on. I think having homework could be a good one for everyone in this class, and many need to specifically work on one of the rules, especially Rules 1, 2, and 3. Does anyone have any suggestions for when to award stars, especially for me because I teach middle school, and every minute is important to learning? I do not want to interrupt 'prime time' for learning. Also, would it be ok to award multiple stars to one student for the same objective--let's say, because they did really well staying in their seat. So, I guess one of my biggest concerns is the time factor. Since I only see students for about 50 minutes per day, I'm concerned about time. With all that said, I'm so excited about the possibility of the Scoreboard Level Two and the SIW working together to help my students learn more and do better than ever before! Oh, Yeah!!!


  1. Melissa B. commented-
    So the scoreboard level 2 is the practice cards? I have not seen this before but I will have to look up more information about it. I know you are concerned about when they have to practice the rules but maybe they won't want to have to come in while you are teaching another class and this will help motivate them on following the rules! Good luck with the improver wall! I know you only have 50 minute classes but what I have tried with the SIW is giving them goals (I gave them 1 academic and 1 behavior- you could do what works best for you) and at first I gave them 2 times a day to earn a star- in the morning and in the afternoon. We are now going all day of earning a star. So- at the end of the day, if they did a great job on their behavior goal, I would give them a star. As far as the academic goal (such as writing) I would give them a star if they earned one at writing or after small group, etc. I also only have 5 stars for each goal since I introduced it later in the year and want to give them the chance to move up all of the levels.

    I think giving multiple stars is good- however, this is where I spent a lot of time thinking when I was debating giving multiple stars. I look at it as IMPROVING- so if they did a great job all day- it would be an improvement. However, for some kids, for them staying in their seat for 10 mins is an improvement!! I have a behavior clip chart where the kids can clip up if they are continuing to do a great job. This is when I tell them to keep doing what they are doing for the rest of the day so they can earn a star. If you only want to give 1 star a day for each objective, you could add tally marks to the scoreboard for them doing a great job following that rule!
    Good luck and I'm excited to hear how it goes!

  2. Whitney E. commented-
    Thank you for posting about the levels of the scoreboard. I will have to look into this more! I look forward to implementing this in my classroom eventually. I am doing my action research on the implementation of the SIW and at first I struggled of when to give them a star and how many to give them a day. First, I started off with two a day (I gave them a goal for in the morning and a goal for in the afternoon). However, since I started it later in the year, I wanted to make sure they had enough time to make it to the top of the wall so I started giving more than two a day. Also, my students that really need the incentive of the SIW might need a sticker for sitting quietly at the carpet for 10 minutes. Therefore, I had to modify it to meet each of my students individual needs.