Tips and Tricks for Implementing a Classroom Economy System

Posted by:
Abby Coyle
on
March 18, 2022
4 minute read

A classroom economy system allows you to teach your students real world skills, while increasing student engagement and promoting positive social behaviors. Check out these best practices and lesson plan ideas for creating a meaningful system that fits the needs of you and your students.

Tip 1: Co-Create Your Economy With Your Students

Creating classroom expectations, jobs, bonus opportunities, reasons to be fined, and classroom store items with your students increases engagement, promotes accountability, and helps foster a positive and inclusive classroom environment.

Example Lesson Plans:

Tip 2: Start Out Small

Introduce your economy piece by piece instead of rolling it all out at once. This allows students to really internalize each component and fully engage with your economy. Spend time in the beginning to make everything just the way you want it, and the rest of the year will be smooth sailing 🙌🏼

  • Week 1: Start giving bonuses and fines (and really go heavy on them! See Tip 3).
  • Week 2: Once classroom routines and procedures are set, introduce job applications. Hire students for their positions and begin sending paychecks.
  • Week 3 or 4: Now that students have had a chance to save up a bit, introduce rent and the classroom store. Some teachers allow students to purchase items whenever they want, others prefer to open the store weekly on Fridays, biweekly, or monthly- totally up to you! Personally, I prefer weekly on Fridays so that students get more frequent gratification and can practice balancing needs (rent) vs wants (that extra 5 minutes of computer time).

Tip 3: Start Off Strong

As mentioned in Tip 2, go really heavy on the bonuses and fines your first couple of weeks using ClassEquity. Send them for everything. This will set the tone for your school year by encouraging positive behavior and showing students that you don't accept anything less. Once students begin to get the hang of classroom routines, you can make your bonuses more selective and ease up on fines.

Tips for giving bonuses and fines:

  • Make sure it is specific so students know exactly why the are receiving a bonus or fine. This helps students reflect on their actions.
  • Check out these tips on when, why, and how to give positive praise.
  • If you are giving fines, talk with the student one-on-one instead of announcing it publicly to the class. Explain why the fine was given, and allow your students a chance to reflect.
  • If fines don't speak to you, they're totally optional! Create a system that works best for you and your students.

Tip 4: Find the right cadence for your class

Depending on your classroom's access to technology, play around with when you will have students check their account balances and make deposits/withdraws until you find what works best. For many teachers, this is right in the morning when students are settling into to class, or after recess as a quick reset. It is also a great math-warmup, and allows for great jumping off points into addition, subtraction, percentages, and more. Job applications are a great writing lesson as well. Save the log-in page on your students' browsers so they can quickly log-in.

How to quickly give bonuses and fines:

  • Have your computer open to ClassEquity so you can quickly send transactions in the moment. Pro-tip: Turn your computer sound on so students can hear the "bonus" and "fine" sound effect. When students know you're sending transactions, they somehow all start magically doing exactly what they should be... ✨
  • If you're not by a computer, pull up ClassEquity on your phone to send transactions anywhere!
  • Print out a class list and make quick notes throughout the day, and then enter into ClassEquity when most convenient for you. Pro-tip: Add "Class Monitor" or "Record Keeper" to your classroom jobs. This student can record/enter bonuses and fines for you.

Tip 5: Create an Inclusive Environment

Recognize all of your students

Sometimes it is easy to focus our attention on the ends of the pack, and the middle may go unnoticed. Make sure you are sending bonuses to all your students evenly, with a conscious effort to recognize and praise those who may not get it as much. Receiving positive praise truly makes a students' day. 🌟

Remind students that they are always welcome in your class

Emphasize that all students are welcome in your classroom, even if they do not have enough to pay rent. Students will never be kicked out of class or denied resources, and you will work with them individually to create a re-payment plan if necessary.  

Check in with your students

Remember that the purpose of a classroom economy is to create a positive classroom culture, so check in with your students every now and then to make sure your system is meeting everyone's needs. If not, make some tweaks! Classrooms are always evolving, and so too is your classroom economy.

Have a tip that you think deserves a spot on the list? Let us know! Shoot us a quick email at [email protected], or chat us below :)