Classroom Management

How to Manage So Students Will Listen

Let’s face it, there are a million and one ideas out there on how to create a successful classroom management system.

There are many parts to a management system including: rules and procedures [along with the dreaded consequences], desk arrangement, and accessibility to the tools students need to learn. All of these are critical in creating a management system that works.

Even with all of these in place, I still found I was struggling to keep students motivated enough to stay on-task while I was teaching. It wasn’t really about student engagement at this point.

My lessons were creative, and I felt that I was doing everything I could to get the students involved with the material. But, again, this is middle school and the main priority for my students is socializing with their friends.

I decided to approach my dilema from another angle.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic

I have found students, particularly the population I deal with, are not intrinsically motivated to engage in the classroom content. This seems to be reaffirmed by the fact that they are middle schoolers [and cannot yet see the bigger picture regarding education] and that their families are not emphasizing the importance of school at home.

You may have discovered this as well, and as teachers, whether our students want to engage or not, we still have to produce positive growth data.

Therefore, I found my solution to this growing issue. Behavior Bucks.

This year, I have instituted a money management system in my classroom. The students from the beginning of the year did a complete 180 after I implemented this new way to manage behaviors.

Students at this age and in this generation rely heavily on instant feedback. They want to know what they’re doing well, and what they are not doing well. What better way to express that then to provide them with a monetary form of instant feedback.

You’re in your seat… 10$

You started your do now without being reminded…10$

You held the door for another student…50$

And so on.

At the end of the week or every other week, they can buy something from Mrs. Kannel’s Student Store.

Some of the items include candy, notepads, stickers, erasers, pencils, silly putty, and homework passes. They really love being able to purchase time to listen to music or play games when we are doing computer centered activties.


Altogether, management is key to creating a positive learning environment for students. Sometimes this doesn’t come as easily to one group as it does for another. I don’t think using extrinsic motivators is a negative way to help students remain on-track while learning.

The system is easy to start up, and students buy into it very quickly. It does take a little money on your end, but all of the prizes are readily available at the dollar store and other discount stores.

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