Welcome to Classroom Economy 101:
Your classroom economy may not run exactly as mine does, but that's okay. Take the parts you like and what will work best for your students.
I am going to answer a couple of questions I received about the way classroom economy runs in my class.
First and foremost ... BE ORGANIZED. I have a binder with all of my classroom economy materials. At the beginning of the year, before school even starts, I have everything copied and ready to go. Visualize how you want this to look in your classroom.
- How do you run your classroom economy?
- The beginning. At the beginning of the year students apply for the job of their choosing. They are given an application that requires them to select their top three jobs and why they would be a good fit. Once hired, students are given a folder with all the necessary materials needed to complete their job.
- The fun beings. Make sure ALL students are trained and know exactly what their job is asking of them.
- A few expenses. Keep ALL the money is not something your students should be saying. Students will need to spend $500 monthly on rent for their desk. This is paid to the banker. Students also may get into trouble with the police officer and fined for not completing homework, misbehaving, etc. (this is not something I let the police officer control. I let the police officers know when someone needs a fine ticket written.)
- I have money left over, let's go to Target. You want to teach your students about being responsible with money. Once students have paid their rent, the rest is theirs to keep. I hold monthly auctions for students to spend their money.
- Auction. DO NOT buy things to auction off in your classroom. Ask parent volunteers to bring in small dollar items. You can also auction classroom coupons (sit in teacher's desk, lunch with teacher, etc) Here is where most of my students go wrong. The first auction they GO crazy, and I let them. They end up spending ALL of their money and when it comes time for next month's rent, they can't afford it. What a great life lesson! If a student cannot afford rent, he/she does not participate in the auction the upcoming month. He/she also has a negative checking balance.
- Savers. I admire these kids. Maybe one day I will be able to save my money instead of spending it all at Target. So Sally has decided to not participate in ONE auction and she has tons of money saved up. At the end of the year, I award the kids who have saved money with certificates and food (normally a sonic drink because it's super close to school and what kid doesn't feel cool walking around with a ROUTE 44 cherry limeade.) However, you can choose to celebrate these kids with whatever your heart desires. You may want to throw a "Saver's party."
- Day to Day. Every day students complete their job. Once a month, we take about 30 to 45 minutes to get everyone paid and rent paid. This is a BIG day for your bankers. You may want to do the first couple of months together, one step at a time. If a student needs to withdraw or deposit money into their bank, this can only be done after they complete morning work or at the end of the day. Model how to fill in the bank log, the rent log, deposit/withdrawal forms, etc. Have a central location in your room where these items are located, so students know where to get extra forms.
- Once a month. The banker writes the paycheck and pays each kid in their group.
- YES, I'm like Oprah. Just kidding, kind of. Whenever I see a student going above and beyond, BAM - here's $100. It's like the classroom management gold mine. Students also can earn extra money by making good grades.
- Yes, everyone needs a chance to earn money. If they are not completing their job we may need to have a conference and discuss what is happening, and possibly change jobs.
- Auction items - read above. I also have super sweet kids. If they see someone struggling in the classroom, they give other kids money to help them out. This is also a teaching point. They need to learn in life that when they loan money they may not always get it back. Most of the time they aren't wanting it back, but just in case.
- How many copies of each type of money would you suggest printing?
- You can always make more copies. You are going to need to keep your banker full of money. The banker needs enough money to pay 4 to 5 kids each month. I also keep a classroom bank opened with extra money.
I realize this may not answer ALL your questions. If you have a specific question, ask below in the comments! :)