Of the many variations of the scoreboard, there are multiple ideas that appeal to me. The ones I know I will use include: Ping Pong, Boombox, Doubler, Pirates, and the Fake.
I will, of course, start the year off with the most traditional of Scoreboards. I will use the Smiley and Frowny board for as long as it holds student enthusiasm. In one of his Youtube videos, Coach B. mentions, “It’s a long time until spring, and the more students are rewarded, the more they expect.” Most students will enjoy the gratification of earning points and trying to ‘beat the teacher.’
Even subtle changes in the Scoreboard can refocus students and liven the classroom. So, I will periodically add the Ping Pong effect. It’s amazing what this ‘back and forth’ giving of positive and negative points does to bring student attention back into focus. This is the best 10-15 second brain stimulation I have ever witnessed. In such a short period of time, Ping Ponging, along with the Mighty Oh Yeah and the Mighty Groan, allows a teacher to restore student attention. Ping Ponging is awesome!
The Pirate approach works really well for a quick and easy change up. After the Smiley and Frowny loses its appeal (hopefully around November), I will title the board differently. The variety provided by "Yo, ho! ho!" and "Arrrgggg!" is an unbelievable way to quickly bring interest back to the Scoreboard. One of my favorite alternatives is Queen of the Universe vs Earthlings. I know students will be able to come up with some awesome variations and will be excited when I use theirs for the Scoreboard.
Next, I will periodically use the Fake for a quick attention getter. I like the fact the students say, "awwww." Acting like I'm going to give a point will cause the children to work harder, and their response supplies energy and eagerness for a positive mark.
Middle school kids will work long and hard for even one minute of music. So, Boombox sounds really neat. Since I do not have a radio in my classroom, I will write the word 'Boombox' on one corner of my white board. I will then move a small laminated 'Tunes' sign from the opposite side toward the 'Boombox' sign. I will star several places along the sign route where students will get to listen to 30 seconds of music. When they reach the goal, I will play one minute of music. Knowing it's a long year, I will move this to two minutes after our winter break and three minutes after our spring break. Students will suggest songs that I preview and purchase on iTunes and play from my phone through classroom speakers. My sixth graders will just love Boombox! It will be a good option during December as the holiday break approaches and will help keep attention focused on class instead of the upcoming vacation.
Finally, the Doubler will add some Funtricity to class. The students will love giving a double Mighty Groan and double Mighty Oh Yeah. I know the resulting points will tally the same, but "it feels much more exciting" to get double points. It is a long time from February to April without a break, so I will use the Doubler during this time frame to liven up the classes.
I also love the idea of using Mystery Road and the Vertical Morphin' Scoreboards near the end of the year as we prepare for the end-of-year state history test.
I am constantly on the ‘educational hunt’ for fun variations of this awesome Scoreboard system. Andre Deshotel, WBT veteran, gives an excellent WBT forum post on just this topic. All of these Scoreboard changes will spice up my classroom and keep my middle school kid’s Amygdala (pleasure/pain center) begging for more.