How to Co-Create a Positive Classroom Culture with your Students

Posted by:
Brenda A. & Katie Gracey
4 minute read

Brenda A. wrapped up her first year teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies in a bilingual school and is headed in to her second year! When we chatted she shared with us that other teachers in her building were coming up to her and asking her classroom management secrets! Can you imagine someone asking you for classroom management tips during your first year of teaching? I know I can't 😅 Learn how Brenda A. turned around her student's behavior and built a positive classroom community!

Tell us about your experience as a first-year teacher.

Going in as a first year teacher with no prior experience I really didn’t know what to expect.  I really struggled with classroom management and trying to make financial literacy interesting for my students.  I tried other financial literacy programs with no success until I came across ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity).

What role did ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) play in your first year teaching?

ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) played a huge role in my first year teaching.  Before ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) I was really struggling with classroom management and having students interested in financial literacy.  Once I integrated ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) I saw an immediate shift in my students' behavior and student engagement.

Do you have any advice for first-year teachers? 

Despite your best efforts, there will always be things you wish you had done differently throughout your first year.   Try not to be too harsh on yourself when things don't go precisely as you had hoped because we are all still learning.  The first year of teaching is the hardest.  Just try your best every day.  Unexpected events will arise and there will be times you will feel as though you cannot keep up with the amount of work that needs to be done.  Stay positive!  Most importantly, enjoy the time you have with your students! 

Do you have any advice for teachers that are implementing a classroom economy for the first time? 

One of my favorite things that I did during my first year of teaching was creating a classroom economy.  It allowed me to teach my students financial literacy and reward student behavior.   Have students participate in the creation of classroom jobs, bonuses, and fines that will help maintain the daily maintenance of the classroom.  It helps students feel like they are contributing which leads them to have greater respect and encourages engagement.

We were so excited when you advocated to bring ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) to your school as a school-wide solution! What inspired you to do that? 

ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) works!  It's a fun way to integrate financial literacy into everyday life with minimal maintenance.  Students are engaged and proud to participate in the classroom economy.  They gain responsibility, the ability to manage their finances without real world consequences, and respect for their school community.  In a few short weeks I saw a drastic change in my students' behavior.  ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) engaged and motivated my students while teaching them financial literacy and responsibility.  I’m excited to have ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) available for the entire middle school.

What is your favorite student moment with ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity)?

One of my favorite stories that I always tell other teachers is about a student I had who came to class one day and was very disruptive and disrespectful.  I warned him he would be fined for violating our classroom rules to which he replied, “I don’t care.”  He eventually racked up a high fine.  He spent the next few weeks working hard, going above and beyond to work his debt off, and was so proud of himself once he could pay off all his fines.  He would tell other students who were acting up to get away from him because he finally paid off his debt and refused to get fined.

Do you have any tips for other teachers or schools hoping to implement or customize ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity)? 

I encourage teachers to have students brainstorm and contribute to creating classroom jobs, fines, and bonuses.  Having students contribute to the creation of the classroom economy gives students a sense of pride and encourages them to participate.  For my students, they enjoyed helping me assign the amounts of bonuses and fines to ensure that each bonus, fine, or paycheck was a fair amount.  One of the favorite student jobs was being a ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity) banker.  I allowed students to send bonuses, fines, or paychecks to other students' accounts. Having student input encourages students to participate and become engaged while creating a memorable experience for students.

Easily co-create your classroom economy with your students using our pre-made lesson plans!

Want to bring ClassBank (formerly ClassEquity)to your school? Request a quote here!