Many teachers implement classroom economies....as a matter of fact I remember my very own 4th grade teacher doing it so many years ago! And it remains one of the fondest memories I have and is actually the reason I ever began doing it to begin with. However, you will see many variations of the classroom economy depending on the teacher you talk to. Since I work at a private school, we often have parents touring the school and my classroom economy is actually something the principal always likes me to discuss with them. The parents LOVE it! And so do the kids.
My economy is broken down into parts. Somethings I implement EVERY SINGLE YEAR and others I may depending on the class and their ability to do things without it taking too much classroom time. Here is a quick list of things I do with my economy:
- Newspaper Ads (Help Wanted and Classifieds)
- Online Job Applications
- Job Interviews
- Class Cash
- Paychecks (complete with taxes taken out)
- Swap Shop
- Class Auctions
- Life's Little Happenings
- Classroom Businesses
ONLINE JOB APPLICATIONS
|Samples of what my K-Money looks like.|
The students earn paychecks that look like a real check! This allows me to add the element of banking to my classroom economy. When students earn their first paycheck, 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.
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
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.
|Students receive this with their unique username and password to get into their account.|
|Here is what our deposit slip looks like. I also have withdrawal slips.|
|Each "customer" gets a receipt after doing a transaction at the bank from their banker.|
|Students are required to keep an accurate check register of their account.|
|YES! Students pay rent and utilities each month (usually I start this the 2nd month of school).|
|Students get a copy of this deed for their files. :-)|
|Classroom Rules - a version of Whole Brain Teaching Rules|
|Each student gets a copy of this for their binder.|
I usually have about 4-5 police officers each year. Each officer is in charge of a select group of students within the class. When a student earns a fine, they are told to tell their office. The officer then records the fine in their logbook (logbooks consist of a laminated folder that has an individual fine sheet for each of their assigned students). They record the date, the fine violation code and the fine amount. At the end of the day they add up each of their students' fines and collect the money. The students who are paying can either pay by check, cash, or direct deposit through their bank account to the city. This log serves a dual purpose - one it's a record for the officer to collect fines but two, it provides me with a behavior/work habit log that I can use if I need to have a conference with parents regarding a student. Honestly, this system works out so well for me. All I have to do is say "Tell your officer" and the students are responsible from handling it from there. In the beginning it does take a little bit of follow through from me making sure it happens, but the officers take their jobs seriously and will get it done. One thing to note - officers DO NOT hand out fines on their own. Fines are only given through me.
Bonuses are another nice little addition to the classroom economy. Students can earn cash bonuses through answering questions correctly, scoring well on quizzes/tests, being complimented from other teachers, birthday/other holiday gifts and more. I don't have set rates on most bonuses but there are a few. For example, if a student scores 100% on their spelling PRE-TEST (meaning they studied ahead of time) they get $100 in class cash. I also give "job bonuses" around the holidays. :-) The joy of this is I can hand them out at my discretion.
SWAP SHOP / CLASS AUCTIONS
During the class auctions, each student will have a post-it note that shows their balance of class cash and money in their account. I set the timer for about 20 minutes. I begin by holding up an item and give a starting bid. Students will raise their hand if they want to bid on the item and the highest bidder wins. Bidding wars often break out - it gets crazy fun. Students KNOW they are not allowed to bid more than they have and if they break this rule, they can be banned from the auction and economy altogether if necessary. My teacher assistant is in charge of writing the items down, who won the bid, and the amount it went for. Students collect their items at the end of the auction and pay at that time. They are responsible for deducting their bids from their post-it notes so they always know how much money they have to work with.
LIFE'S LITTLE HAPPENINGS
Here are some sample cards and what they would say.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCESHere are some great resources that you can find online regarding classroom economies:
Info on Beth Newingham's economy: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/creating-classroom-economy-unit-plan
A detailed PDF about setting up an economy: http://www.councilforeconed.org/lesson-resources/lessons/sample-lessons/classroom_minieconomy.pdf
A website that contains over a dozen lesson plans on Economics: https://www.moneyinstructor.com/classeconomy.asp
Contains forms and more ideas: https://www.myclassroomeconomy.org/print.html?grades=4-5#
FREE resources from Wells Fargo for their Hands On Banking program: http://www.handsonbanking.org/en/educators.html
Do you have a classroom economy? What different components do you do? Share below.