Monday, August 4, 2014

Classroom Economy: Student Paychecks

I've been teaching for ten years and have been doing a classroom economy since my second year.  I fondly remember my own fourth grade teacher having classroom cash and thinking how cool it was.  As the years have gone on, my classroom economy has become more complex (not in terms of work for me) to imitate the real world for my students.

The Classroom Bank
One of their (and their parents!) all time FAVORITE elements of my classroom economy are the paychecks they earn.  Yep, that's right.  They earn paychecks that look like a real check!  This allows me to add the element of banking to my classroom economy.  We go over how checks work, what all those numbers mean, and I even invite a guest speaker into my classroom from a bank to answer the students questions.  We use the online platform called My Kids Bank which is FREE!  You can easily create accounts for all your students, create bankers, do direct deposits and more. It is such as awesome resource that I'm in awe that it is FREE.

The paychecks that my students earn not only look like real checks but they also have taxes taken out....just like real life!!  This adds a whole new teachable element which allows me to talk about with my kids.  What taxes pay for, who gets the money, why do we pay them...etc.  It's an eye opener for many of them.  :-)

In the beginning, I would spend quite a bit of time doing payroll.  It really became time consuming because I wanted my students to have accurate YTD information (especially for when tax season came around).  After some wasted time, I knew I had to find a new way to do payroll that wouldn't take me more than 3 minutes. I searched high and low and was unable to find what I needed.  So I finally sat down with a friend of mine and created exactly what I needed.  Enter my mail merge and spreadsheet using Excel and Word!  This handy tool allows me to easily input each students name, what pay period it is (which will automatically calculate the YTD information), and their pay.  After I enter that information, the formulas automatically calculate the taxes that are taken out which is about 25% of their pay.  :-)
Sample Paycheck

I'm happy to share this awesome spreadsheet and mail merge with you through my TpT store!  The zip file also includes an easy tutorial video to walk you through how to run your own classroom payroll.

Do you have a classroom economy?  What are some special ways you make it more real?




  1. I loved using this last year. Thank you for sharing it with me! Anyone who has a classroom economy needs this product!
    Simply 2nd Resources

    1. Thank you, Becca! I'm so glad you like it!! :-)


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