Monday, March 18, 2013

Classroom Economy System

At the end of last school year I decided to start up a Classroom Economy system for this school year. I have a few challenging students that I knew would really respond to these tangible rewards. Rather than having a different system for a few students, I made it a class-wide project.

Here are the basics:  The students earn $1 for coming to school each morning. (I purchased the Lakeshore paper bill pack for our class money.) They can earn $2 for homework, and at the end of the day, they earn $5 for still having a green behavior card. So the students earn $6-$8 daily. Then on Friday afternoon's we have our class store where they are able to purchase one item.  Some of these items are toys, crafts, erasers, snacks, etc. Then there are items that do not actually cost me money, like my classroom reward passes. These are actually the most popular items in my class store. It's amazing how they love free play on the iPad. I also have high-ticket items like lunch with the teacher, pizza lunch, and movie with a friend. I have students that have been saving since day one to choose one of these high priced items.

Since starting the classroom economy system, my challenging students have really responded well. They love to earn money and hate to lose their money. I'd say they really think twice about actions when they know money is involved.

Just like in real life, there are bills to pay. The first Friday of the month, rent is due. I charge for desk, chair and textbook rental. In the beginning my students would whine on rent day. I told them to talk to their parents about how expensive it is to pay rent or a mortgage. And yes, that happens every month. Now they do it without complaints, which is always nice. They also have to pay for their supplies such as new pencils or glue. It seems like the students are taking better care of their supplies this year knowing they have to pay for replacements.

When I started this system at the beginning of the year, I was looking forward to better behavior choices and consistent behavior consequences. But what has occurred has been amazing.  Students are learning to delay their gratification by saving their hard earned money for bigger items. They can count money and make change (the older kids). On the job chart each week one student is the banker. That is a coveted job and they look forward to being the banker.

In November I applied for, and received a Teacher Innovation Grant to help pay for some of the rewards I've been using in the class store. This will really help off-set the out of pocket costs and provide items for our store in the future. I can't imagine what kinds of behaviors I would be seeing this year without the use of the classroom economy. The little bit of work it takes to keep it stocked pays off in the long run and makes my job easier.

I've opened up a TpT store to share some of the things I'm using in my classroom. Stop by my store and download my Classroom Economy Reward Passes for free. While you're there, rate my work and follow my store.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! I too use an economy system, but use coins. I teach 2nd grade, and I wanted them to also learn how to count their money! I need to apply for a grant, though. Their "items" are costing a bit too much! I like your idea of using other rewards that don't cost money.

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