Rules of Thumb to Build Credit: I Do, We Do, You Do

Educator utilizes a gradual release model to facilitate studentsŠ—È development of personalized rules of thumb to help students build credit early in life.
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About this Micro-credential

Apply for a micro-credential before December 22nd, 2017 for a $75 Amazon gift card!*

*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator understands the value of gradually releasing responsibility for learning to students and uses the “I Do, We Do, You Do” strategy to enable students to develop their own rules of thumb to build credit early in life.

Method Components

Empirical evidence supports the theory that student learning increases when thinking is made visible. To build critical thinking, students need to be able to articulate and illustrate how they think about concepts, what strategies or information they use to build understanding, and why they selected a particular strategy or approach.

What is an I Do, We Do, You Do activity?

This teaching strategy is a gradual release model that provides scaffolding for students as they learn a new concept or process. The responsibility gradually shifts from the teacher to groups of students with the teacher’s aid, and finally to the students individually.

Components of an I Do, We Do, You Do Activity

  • The strategy begins with direct instruction from the teacher, who models thinking and understanding in a way that guides students through a problem.
  • In the next step, students work in pairs or small groups, with assistance from the teacher, to try to solve a new problem.
  • The end goal is for students to demonstrate mastery of the concept or process on their own without help from classmates or the instructor.

Suggested Implementation:

  1. Illustrate the consequences of poor credit and the advantages of good credit. Examples include graphics or videos that show a correlation between lower credit scores and a lower frequency of credit approval, higher borrowing costs, higher insurance costs, and obstacles to obtaining a job.
  2. Provide direct instruction or another teaching method to introduce strategies to build credit early in life. Examples may include resources such as credit reports or factors considered in credit scoring models such as FICO.
  3. Model for students how the complexity of credit building can be coalesced into simple rules of thumb that students can remember and are relevant to students now, or in the immediate future. Examples include “pay your bills on time,” “know before you owe,” or “limit credit card borrowing to 10 percent of the limit and pay the full balance on time.”
  4. Students then try to develop their own rules of thumb with a partner or small group, with limited questions for the teacher (collaborative learning).
  5. Lastly, the students reflect on what they already know about themselves (e.g., are they impulsive shoppers, disorganized, etc.), select or establish their own rules of thumb without aid from the teacher or other students (independent work), and design a resource such as a poster, electronic posting (e.g., social media) or video to exhibit a minimum of two personalized rules of thumb.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

The gradual release model allows teachers to introduce the complexities of credit building in manageable, scaffolded activities. The following source summarizes key research on modeling, guiding student practice, scaffolding, and establishing rules of thumb.

  • Consumer Voices on Financial Rules to Live By. Rep. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, May 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

  • Schoar, Antoinette, and Saugato Datta. The Power of Heuristics. Rep. Ideas42, Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. Pg. 4.

  • Fisher, Douglas. “Effective Use of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model.” McGraw Hill Education. N.p., 2008. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

  • “Instructional Scaffolding to Improve Learning.” Spectrum Newsletter. Ed. Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Northern Illinois University, 2008. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

  • Larkin, Martha. “Using Scaffolded Instruction To Optimize Learning.” ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (2002): n. pag. ERIC. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.


Video tutorial illustrating how to use the “I Do, We Do, You Do” method:

How credit history and credit scores can be built or damaged.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4, and a “Yes” for both artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit):

  • How did you illustrate the consequences of poor credit and advantages of good credit before sharing credit-building strategies?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Submit one video that demonstrates your competence with the “I Do” and “We Do” steps of this strategy.

Also, provide two student artifacts exhibiting rules of thumb to build credit using a poster, electronic posting (e.g., social media), or video.

Part 3. Student Reflection

Provide two written reflections from students who participated in the activity used for submission of Part 2. Use the following questions as guidance (200-word limit):

  • What personal habits or financial behaviors did you reflect on that could run contrary to building your credit?
  • What rules of thumb did you develop to help shape your own behavior?

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • How did student collaboration aid in their development of rules of thumb?
  • How did this teaching method help translate the complexities of credit building into simple rules of thumb?
  • How can rules of thumb help students make informed credit-building decisions in the future?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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