Creating a scoreboard for your students is a great way of keeping them engaged and fostering gentle competition. Let's take a look at why it works, what things you can track, and which tools you can use.
Why use a classroom scoreboard?
At the most basic level, a scoreboard should be seen as a motivator, a way of driving positive behaviour. It should be a counterbalance to student's grades, which only measure academic performance. And yes, it is absolutely essential that a classroom scoreboard is a fun and entertaining endeavour.
It is essential to identify the core values that you would like to reinforce. This will depend on your students. The values can be broad like "Respectful to others, Responsible," or more detailed like "On Time, Active Learner, Teamwork."
To create a successful scoreboard, ask yourself these questions:
- What is tracked? What are points given for?
- Are you tracking individuals or teams?
- Is it a one-off competition or ongoing?
- Will there be rewards and recognition? How often?
- What tool will you use to track the points?
Let's go through them one by one.
What is tracked?
First, determine when and how points will be awarded. Do this with your students. Allowing the students to make their own suggestions will increase "buy-in" and engagement. It is essential that activities that get rewarded are easily observable and measurable. Not only should it be clear to everyone what points are given for, but it should also be quick. Examples:
- 👍 A good example would be scoring if students are on time. It's clear to everyone whether someone is on time or late and does not take time to "measure".
- 👎 A bad example would be scoring tidiness. Of course, driving students to be more tidy is a fantastic goal! However, it's hard to quantify for the purpose of giving points on a scoreboard. It's also hard to measure quickly.
Teams or individuals?
Another fundamental decision is whether your students achieve points individually or as a team. Again this will entirely depend on your class and the behaviour you are trying to drive.
Are you running a one-off competition or something ongoing?
Competitions in classrooms are great, but they are not the best way of driving long-term behaviour changes. We will write about competitions in another post and focus on ongoing events here.
Rewards or recognition should be regular and reoccurring
To establish the scoreboard and drive home its usage it should be updated regularly. You should also establish a regular recognition of achievements. We recommend updating at least once a day (or more often) whilst recognising achievements once a week. Aim to make it into a classroom ritual. Aim to celebrate success.
What should the weekly reward be? It's not possible to give general advice here, but suffice to say: if being on top of the scoreboard is intrinsically rewarding enough for your students, then you have succeeded!
If you find yourself in a remote-teaching environment, then creating a classroom scoreboard can be a great help in tracking progress and achieving a degree of cohesion. Most class management tools (e.g. Google Classroom or Class Dojo) will allow you to add URLs, so you can link to your scoreboard.
If you need some inspiration for a theme, why not try a Harry Potter House Points scoreboard?
What scoreboard tools and options are available?
Let's go through some popular options for creating a scoreboard.
Use Keepthescore.com. That’s us 👋! This tool is super quick to setup and comes with a bunch of features and themes to make your scoreboard look attractive. It’s free to try and costs 15 USD to unlock some features.
Notecards. The notecards are placed on the students' desks (so they can see the points). One student passes them out at the beginning of each bell and collects them up at the end of the bell. You can then tally them up at the end of the week. Idea: the front of the notecards can have a team logo and team name on them, while the back of the notecard has a collection of their points.
Use a pre-made template. There are a bunch of ready-made PDFs for you to download on sites like TeachersPayTeachers.com. If you click this link it will automatically show you free resources.
Use Powerpoint / Google sheets. This has the advantage of being a tool that you are probably already familiar with. Also, if remote teaching is a consideration, you will require a digital version of your scoreboard. Again, there is a vast array of premade material available on sites like Slideteam.com or Slidegeeks.com. Also check out how to create a leaderboard using Google Sheets.
If you have questions or feedback, then do comment below