Classroom management (the fancy teacher phrase for behavior or discipline system) is my least favorite part of teaching. My main plan of attack is to keep students so busy they really don’t have time to get off task and stir up trouble. Unfortunately, that does not always work, so I have to have some sort of behavior monitoring system in place. This year, my teacher teammate and I implemented a classroom economy to keep students motivated to make positive decisions and (hopefully) reduce disruptive behavior.
Many classrooms have a similar plan. It’s like pulling a ticket or a bear or a penguin or a turtle… The beauty of this system is that it incorporates math skills and financial literacy. Students are paid a set amount on Monday mornings. The goal is to keep the money throughout the week. Students “pay” the teacher for repeated class disruption, organizational issues, or any behaviors that stop the classroom from running efficiently. On the flip side, students can EARN extra money for positive choices that help keep the classroom community running smoothly.
At the end of the week, the students total their earnings and keep a balance sheet of withdrawals and deposits. After a designated amount of time, the students buy a class reward if they have saved enough money. For kids with a surplus of money, they can purchase bonus rewards.
Adapt for Home: Not only does this system work in a classroom, it is a system that works at home for weekly allowances. Children have their weekly amount of allowance money and can keep it if they complete all chores. If they forget to feed the dog for several days in a row, they could have their pay reduced. If they do extra chores like wash the car without being prompted, they could be rewarded with extra money. At school, I use fake Monopoly-like money, at my home, I would pay my children real money.
My students are most excited about the individual rewards. We have tangible items for a lower price that I am getting at Oriental Trading. Our first group reward will be the first of October, so I am stocking the prize box with Halloween themed items LIKE THESE and THESE. But, we are also offering more costly items that are specific to our school. Students can save over several months to cash in for experiences that are considered a “coup” at our school.
School Bonus Reward Ideas
- $10 – $25: Prize Box (erasers, pencils, stickers, bookmarks, key chains, fidgets, fun school supplies)
- $25 – $50: Shoes off in the classroom, sit at the teacher desk, pick your seat at lunch, homework pass, be first in the lunch line
- $50 – $100: Hold the flag at school assembly, pick the game at PE class, wear jeans to school (if you have school uniforms)
- $100+: Design the school lunch menu for a day, make the school announcements over the speaker, pull the fire alarm during a fire drill, give a homework-free night to the whole class
At Home Allowance Reward Ideas
- Go to the movies or pick the movie for family movie night
- Go to an indoor bounce/trampoline park for an afternoon
- Pick the restaurant for a family dinner out
- Extra TV, iPad, game time