How Does it Work?
There are five simple rules to be taught. Each rule has a set of gestures to follow to help students remember the rule. The rules are as follows:
1. Follow directions quickly.
2. Raise your hand for permission to speak.
3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.
4. Make smart choices.
5. Keep your dear teacher happy.
If you are looking for adorable versions of these rules, search Teachers Pay Teachers. One of my favorites is a set by Gypsy Teacher (free) of chevron rules. Miss Nelson has a cute (free) set of polka dot ones as well. (Between Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest, it's easy to see where my summer has gone...)
As any experienced teacher knows, the rules cannot be introduced and forgotten. Students need plenty of practice. I typically practice them at least twice a day: first thing in the morning, then after lunch. Just like with anything else at this age, the more fun you make it for students, the more engaged they will become.
The scoreboard becomes a motivator/game for students. It is simple to make. Simply make a quick T chart (see example below). Draw a smiley face on one side and a frowny face on the other. Students earn smiley points for following rules and procedures and frowny points for not following them. The purpose of the scoreboard is to reinforce positive behavior in a fun way.
There are many add-ons that can be done with the scoreboard as well. For example, positive points can earn students saying together "oh yes" or having a "one second party" to celebrate. Negative points can just as easily cause a "mighty groan" from the crowd. One tip I have read several places online is to be sure that the difference between frowny and smiley faces remain no more than three points apart to keep students engaged and interested in the game.
What does the research say?
The brain learns in five ways, by seeing, saying, hearing, doing and feeling. When we learn and practice the rules with gestures and emotion, we are covering all of these ways. Seeing a smiley or frowny on the scoreboard gives students small positive or negative emotions. By using the scoreboard, we are activating the limbic system, our source of emotions.
What does this mean for first grade?
In my classroom, it means it has to be ready to catch and hold their attention. In the past, I have used Class DoJo's for team and individual points. This year, I plan to continue to use Class DoJo for individual points, but move to using smiley and frowny points for whole group time.
My classroom is Dr. Seuss themed, so thanks to the dollar bin at Target, I will have a lovely Dr. Seuss scoreboard this year. I have attached circle magnets to the back so it will attach to my marker board since the scoreboard is not magnetic. I like it because I will be able to move it around the room depending on where our learning is taking place.