classroom mini economy, yea or nay?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by EagleTeacher, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. EagleTeacher

    EagleTeacher Rookie

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    Jul 1, 2011

    I am thinking about changing to the classroom mini economy like Beth Newingham. Is it too much to take on? I am concerned about the store and if it will cost a lot to keep it stocked. I was thinking about doing the store once a month. Has anyone tried it and had it not go well? Any thoughts out there?
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think it can be really helpful, but yes - it takes some time to manage. One common criticism is that it moves the focus of behavior from higher level goals such as "responsibility" and "caring about others" to personal material benefit. However, this criticism would be the same with any tangible reinforcement system. The benefit, on the other hand, is that classroom economies mirror the real world in some respects, and so are more "generalizeable" or relatable to the real world, and therefore score a few more points on the "good behavior management system" game :).

    I would have trade in be at most once per week. Depending on the age of kids, their developmental level, capacity to delay reinforcement, and existing behavior conditions, I might go more frequently (e.g., 10 minutes at the end of each day). Obviously, this translates into a fairly large amount of lost instructional time, but the important thing to consider is that behavior problems left unaddressed generally cost a lot MORE time than 10 minutes a day if left unaddressed. In addition, the 10 minutes spent can involve kids counting money, checking their change, practicing decision-making skills, etc.

    Overall, if you're looking for something quick and easy, there are easier systems out there. But, I like and have used economies in multiple situations successfully!
     
  4. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    What grade are you in? I teach 3rd and found it to be far more work than it was worth. If you do go forth, I would suggest having a parent volunteer run it.
     
  5. EagleTeacher

    EagleTeacher Rookie

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    I teach third grade.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    It depends if you will have the time to keep it running. For a first or second year teacher, I might not suggest taking it on. But for a teacher with some experience, it could be a great part of a classroom, especially for teaching about an economy.
     
  7. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    I have tried doing a classroom economy for the last couple of years. I have finally given up on it. I teach 5th grade, and with all of the curriculum I have to teach I don't have time to have a store and making sure I hand out cash each week. I love the idea, but I guess I don't have the managment skills needed to run it in my classroom effectively.
     
  8. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I had a classroom economy for a couple of years, but I gave up a few years ago. It was a lot of hassle, and the last straw was when a few students took some money home and made copies of it! I knew then it was time to let it go.
     
  9. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I think the potential of a classroom economy is profound. I specifically think sound economic principles can be learned at an early age with something like this in place. (i.e. not just getting $, spending $). I think you can use it to teach future citizens important lessons in savings, inflation, currencies, just various economic principles in a real-world way. Not to mention math concepts, fundamentals. I think you should go for it!
     
  10. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I have one, but it is difficult. Students earn BUG Bucks for returning important paperwork, participating in assessments, birthday, and behavior. I keep track of earnings & expenditures on individual check registers. I am horribly inconsistent. I do all of the work, so it really loses any educational benefit it might have. I have sp ed students, so I've found that I have to double check their math anyway, so I just keep the records. My intent is to have the store open biweekly, but I just don't keep up with it.

    IMO, it's much more work than it's worth. I still do it, but it's hard. I also have all the prices as whole dollars, so there's not much with making change. I try to stock it with school supplies (I buy the stuff in the sales: .25 crayons & glue sticks, .15 folders, .05 spiral notebooks) and then I shop at Dollar Tree or the party favor aisles to look for things that have multiple items in a pack.

    My advice is to definitely have it all worked out, and a very specific procedure in place.
     
  11. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I, like several others, found it to be a lot of work and not really worth it in the end. I agree that it can be used to teach some good lessons, but it is HARD if you do it right.
     

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