Classroom Jobs/Economy

Discussion in 'General Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

    Dec 7, 2014
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    Aug 2, 2018

    This will be my fourth year of teaching, and I have always pondered the idea of creating specific classroom jobs for students, and tying those jobs to a classroom economy for behavior management. I have finally decided to give it all a go this year, because the money concepts fit with our 2nd grade math standards, and I really think it could provide my kids with a connection to some important life skills.

    I've thought out the class jobs, how much I will pay for them, and monthly rent. I plan to brainstorm as a class specific reasons students should be fined or given bonuses in addition to their normal pay (this indirectly would lead to a discussion of class rules). Does anyone have any other ideas or insight as to things I should keep in mind as I try this? It honestly seems daunting, and I'm hoping I can keep up with it all and make it a great learning experience for my kids. But anyone who has tried and succeeded (or failed) with this type of system would have valuable insight that I'd love to hear about. Thanks in advance!
  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

    Nov 20, 2012
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    Aug 2, 2018

    I'd just have one piece of advice - since I'm on the other end of the spectrum with behavior management (preferring more intrinsic, natural rewards/consequences):

    Make sure that your system doesn't pull you away from a focus on your core academic and life skill teaching goals. Make it simple and straightforward enough that it eats up as little time as possible!

    Here's a resource that you might find helpful, depending on how far along the line of prepping that you are:
    futuremathsprof, MrsC and bella84 like this.
  4. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Jul 27, 2015
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    Aug 7, 2018

    I find that sometimes the reward can replace the goal of the activity. For classroom jobs, I feel it's important to work for the good of the classroom community rather than for the individualized goal of receiving a reward. On the other hand, a combined goal of learning about money, money management, and responsibility are best taught from realistic experiences such as this. (I'm assuming this will be play money). It might be necessary to keep a record of each student's account, in case a student loses some money and especially if they think their money has been stolen. A spreadsheet is quite helpful for this. I also find it helpful to keep expectations high. The penalty exists, but it's not expected to be used; when a student does fail to meet a standard behavior, that student is encouraged (rather than lectured) to develop ideas to improve that behavior.

    A further thought on rewards. I find prizes to be a type of Janus, two faced. According to Alfie Kohn's research, rewards can diminish the importance and even the enjoyment of an activity. Yet I also see how rewards can add to the fun. And in your example, they are a math manipulative. To realistically teach monetary values, it helps that the students experience earning the money. To me, the most important role of the teacher, and the most precarious, would be assisting the students in maintaining a healthy attitude towards the monetary reward.

    Source: Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and other Bribes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993.

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