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.
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.
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 🙌🏼
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.
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.
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. 🌟
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.
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.