Whole Brain Teaching: The Scoreboard

**This is a repost of my initial Scoreboard blog post. I am reposting it now with some end-of-year reflections and how I tweaked certain parts to work in my class. I would love to hear how you use this in your own class in the comments below!

Every day in class we keep a scoreboard of how many "Yes" and "Groan" points we get. It is paired with the "Class-Yes" technique and actually provides us with a chance to work together as a class multiple times a day.

Every time I finish with our "Class-Yes" I look and listen to see how the students did with the expectations. Are they looking at me? Are voices off and have hands stopped working? If so, I quietly say, "Yessss!" and make a tally under the smiley face. Kids say the "Yesssss!" with me, and then I continue with my teaching message.

If, on the other hand, I notice talking, movement, or that several students have not done the "Class-Yes" then I drop my shoulders and moan while I make a tally under the frown face. Kids make the moan with me and then I continue with the lesson.
My class Scoreboards- you will notice two scoreboards- in our school, we switch kids up for math class, so their tallies are for the whole week and result in an extra minute of free choice, computer lab, game time, etc.
A few important things to remember:
  1. I want the kids to make the Yes and Moan noises with me- it refocuses us as a class
  2. I remind the kids that a frown face point is not the end of the world, it just encourages us to do better next time.
  3. I make the Yes and the Moan QUICK! They should not stop the momentum of our lesson and instead should keep up moving forward as a class.
  4. I do NOT give out a frown face point for the actions of one student. In that case, I would ask him/her to "Clip Down"
  5. I keep the ratio 3:1 or closer- I want the closeness to keep us in suspense!
  6. On the Whole Brain Teaching Website, there is a fantastic video all about the Scoreboard- I encourage you to watch it because it delves VERY deep into all of the possibilities!
At the end of the day, after we have packed our bags and stacked our chairs, we take a look at the scoreboard as a class to see how we did. If we have more smiles than frowns, I will give a small reward. This year, I went through a few options:
  • An extra minute of recess the next day
  • A sticker on their way out
  • A super-fun and active Brain Break, like Air Band or Dance Off!

After doing this for the year, I have a few reflections on how things worked and how I had to change them up to work for me:
  • The extra minute of recess the next day was a no-go for me. It was a weird reward since the Scoreboard resets each day, so celebrating the day after just wasn't so fun for my kids. 
  • My kids LOVED stickers this year, even as third graders. This was an easy reward for me, since I have tons, buuuuut....
  • The best reward EVER was one of our active and crazy Brain Breaks, like Air Band or Dance Off! All it would take from me was putting on a song and having the kids choose an "air instrument" to play or making sure they had enough room to boogie down :)
  • Using the Brain Breaks helped what I consider to be one of the biggest pluses of WBT- momentum and the sense of urgency about our learning. Brain Breaks were an energy and morale booster and everyone willingly took part. Plus, it got us giggling at the end of the day, and nothing is better than sending your students out the door with a smile on their face
I also experimented with having to get a certain number of tallies to get a reward, but that put more work on me to make sure that  I was giving them enough chances to get to that number. Needless to say, that didn't last long!

One thing I need to keep working on is the quickness and the seamlessness of the Yes and Moan into the lesson. I am definitely guilty of stopping the lesson to remind them to do better if we get a moan, blah, blah, blah and I REALLY worked hard to stop that extra chatter and keep the lesson moving along.

This got better as the year progressed, and having something fun to work towards for the kids helped the best.

On the WBT website, Coach B talks about variations of the scoreboard, such as students vs. teachers, boys vs. girls, left vs. right side of the room, and more. There are so many possibilities and the end result is that kids are having fun and (hopefully) enjoying a really fun, simple reward for being fully engaged in the lesson and the school day.

Do you use the Scoreboard in your class? What do you do as a reward? Leave me a comment below :)


  1. Hi,

    I am thinking about doing this next year... But I will have seven classes... What do you recommend that will be the easiest to keep up with?

    Every New Beginning

    1. Hi there,

      Great question! I have a few ideas that will hopefully work:

      - You could use individual white boards for each class and place them on a shelf at the front of the class, switching between them throughout the day and tabulating each class' points at the end of the week

      - You could print out a scoreboard template on cardstock and laminate it. Then, punch two holes on top and put binder rings through them. Find a place to hang them at the front of the class and then flip through each scoreboard throughout the day's classes

      - You could do a scoreboard for each class each day. Think of a super-small, but super fun reward to use at the end of the class if they get more smiles than frowns. It could be a brain break, listening to a favorite song for the last minute and as they transition out, whatever!

      I hope these ideas help! Thanks so much for your comment :)


  2. I use the scoreboard with my music classes. I see 30 classes for 1 40 minute session a week. Our scoreboard is new every class. I do things like a sniffy (lip balm on the hand) or freeze dance, etc.

    LOVE iT!

    1. I don't understand what this sniffy thing is, but I'm interested to learn more.

  3. Thanks so much for your insight to WBT. I am just starting to learn about it. I am your newest follower.


  4. I LOVE WBT! I found it while searching for solutions for how to deal with "that class" several years ago. I, too, found that the recess time doesn't work as well unless you have recess at the end of the day. I tried the minutes of free time, but they were just too wild for that. Now that I'm at a new school we have some time built into the end of the day we call "finish up" which is like study hall. They love to get out our classroom games, so that is an option for a reward. I really need to implement more brainbreaks. Thanks for posting about them!


  5. Love this! Where did you find a copy of the primary scoreboard? I would love, love, love it! april.vs.lava@gmail.com Thanks! :)

  6. I've been a "Whole Brainer" for quite a few years (used to be Power Teaching!) I have a small whiteboard that I can carry with me if need be. At the end of the da if we have more smilies than frownies, the class gets a star. When the class accumulates 15 stars, we have a LINC(Lunch IN Classroom) day. The kids LOVE to each lunch at their desks with me.

    1. I really like this idea of having a LINC day! I think my students would love that! And you don't have to worry about buying prizes!

  7. I saw a video of this used in a 3rd grade class and loved the idea of clipping a laminated scoreboard to a lanyard. I've got one on anyways with my keys and id tag, with the scoreboard there as well its always with me and I wouldn't have to worry about not going back and forth to the board.