On the first day back after Thanksgiving break this week, I was completely prepared to walk in and teach. My room was ready, lessons planned, and my desk top was even clean. I was awake, coffee in hand, as I opened the door to my smiling students.
As the day progressed however, I found it difficult to find my groove. The kids were strangely sluggish and crazed and the same time and although we accomplished our objectives for the day, getting true participation and engagement was like pulling teeth. At the end of the day, I looked at the scoreboard and saw many many frownies and very few smilies. I realized that even after using the scoreboard for over two years and attending several WBT conferences on the topic, I had messed up. In my frustration, I had used the scoreboard to actually reflect the class' behavior. Silly me!! That night I refreshed myself by reading the forum post about the scoreboard on wholebrainteaching.com.
The next day, I ping ponged my class back and forth so many times they almost had whiplash. The energy shifted each time, and it continually brought the kids' focus back to me. At the end of the day, there were many marks on both sides of the scoreboard. Because they lost (as planned), they were starved to win the next day to win the prize- a chance to try out the new buzzers we would use during mind soccer on Friday.
Even though I knew how to use the scoreboard, I needed a reminder. It also reinforced to me how much power the teacher has in the classroom. On Tuesday, I was able to manipulate the emotions of my students in a positive way, and help them learn in an engaging, fun way. Teacher heaven! :)