In my last post, I wrote about creating and executing Lighthouse money in the classroom. This post will focus on how to use money in relation to behaviour management using a cost response system.

I gave several reasons why I wanted to incorporate money into the classroom in my last post- the main reason being that my students will go onto post secondary then to their chosen career field and they will need to know not only money skills, but job/career skills. With my students being on the Autism spectrum, they exhibit behavioural and communication challenges; I have used these “challenging moments” as teaching opportunities with the help of Lighthouse Money.

Every action has a consequence; positive actions have positive consequences and negative actions have negative consequences. Positive consequence in my class comes in the form of Lighthouse Money. For example, in math class, each math page is given a value. As students complete their assigned work, they get paid, just like in the work place. However, when assigned work does not get completed they do not get paid, again just like in real life. My students learned this very quickly and realized that it is beneficial for them to complete their work so they can buy their breaks or other items from the Lighthouse Store.

As motivating as Lighthouse Money is for my students, there are days when they do not want to complete their work. On days like these, behaviours are bound to come out. The main behaviour I encounter from my students is what I call “the shut down”. When my students engage in this behaviour, they will put their head down, avoid the teacher, give rude responses, give dirty looks, etc. When my students engage in this behaviour, I give them a warning. If they do not take to the warning, then I start taking money away. As I take money away, I explain to the student(s) that in the work world, if your boss gives you an assignment and it does not get completed, pay will be deducted or worse, termination. The same thing applies with their physical demeanour; giving dirty looks to your boss as they are trying to explain an assignment will result in being sent home or termination. I was able to reduce the amount of time my students stayed in this “shut down” mode from thirty minutes to two minutes; they learned very quickly that engaging in this behaviour was not worth losing money they worked very hard for. I also implemented a “fine” system for classroom management. Anytime a classroom rule got broken, a fine was to be paid. This helped instil classroom rules.

Managing the class and behaviours has become easier and more effective with the implementation of Lighthouse Money. My students are also learning good work ethic for their bright futures ahead of them.