Setting up Classroom Economy - logistical question

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Jenlovestoteach, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Jenlovestoteach

    Jenlovestoteach Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2007

    I have done a search on here and been to Beth's website already, but I want to run my ideas and concerns by you guys and see if you can help me troubleshoot.

    I teach 4th, 5th and 6th grade gifted kids. I have eight 4th graders, thirteen 5th graders and 19 sixth graders. They all see me on different days. I want to implement a classroom economy this year to teach them the skill of balancing a checkbook while also holding them accountable. I'm not going to deal with cashing checks and giving them money because it will get too confusing with so many kids on different days. I will write them checks for their class job,s attendance, participation, etc at the end of each week. A banker will be in charge of making sure that their checkbooks are balanced and then stamp the check to indicate that it has been cashed. Bankers will earn a bonus salary that week. If the kids owe me money, they write me a check.

    My hesitation occurs when I think about prizes.... If I ran a store once a month for everyone, that means that I need 40 good prizes every month at various price points. Could I do it in a way where "When your checkbook account balance is $10 you can go shopping"... and just have them have to work to a certain point and then go into the grab bag?

    I see them once a week. How often should they be getting rewarded?

    I want to devise a system that is equitable, but also one that will not mean that I am spending $40 at Dollar Tree every month on prizes for them. It also has to be something that will be equally as appealing to 4th graders as 6th graders.

    Lastly, how do you set up a job chart for 3 different classes? I was thinking about numbering the kids and setting up clothes pins with the #s on them to be attached to the job title for the week. So "homework helper" is #3 and #15 from all grades. Only problem is that it will take a longer time for the bigger class to cycle through jobs. How much $ would you make each job earn? Would you use big amounts or keep them under a dollar so that they don't feel like they're really "paying" $10 for a yo-yo?? Or it doesn't matter?

    I really want to have this all squared away before I leave for vacation on Saturday and know you guys can help! :)

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Aug 1, 2007

    I understand your concern about purchasing so many goodies for your store. I think there is an upside to doing an economic system in the classroom (math skills, problem solving, dealing with money, etc), but it can also become expensive for the teacher. One thing I've done was buy lots of things VERY cheap and in bundles. I bought some things for a penny from the Staples penny sale (pencil holders and sharpeners). I also plan to create some cards that they can buy (eat lunch in classroom with friend, free bathroom pass, free water pass, clean the whiteboard, write on the whiteboard, first pick of recess equipment, extra time on computer, help teacher in another class, etc.) This should help alleviate some some of the things that I have to buy with my own money. I've never done an economic system before and I honestly don't know how great it really is. Will it be more work than its worth. I figured, I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't work, than that's all right. I gave it a shot.

    I plan to have my student store open every other week. I also plan to send home notices to families about our student store and that we would love some contributions to help out. Then, I will make a list of things that we would like (books, gently used toys).
     
  4. CheleOh

    CheleOh Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2007

    I have a "store," but I stock VERY FEW snacks (we can no longer give out *goodies*). Most of the things my students can buy are passes for special privileges. I have store once a week during our PAT time, so if the students CHOOSE to spend their time and money there, then that's their choice.

    Additionally, as an incentive to save their money, the top 5 money earners for each trimester get to plan a class party. Students must pay for their party activities (movie, popcorn, wear pjs, free play, etc.) and the party planners have to set the prices for each activity. The only instructions I give them is that THEY are the only ones who should be able to afford ALL of the activities.

    Good luck! Once upon a time I taught a 4/5/6 Gifted Cluster -- but all self-contained! :eek:

    Chele :)
     
  5. prattmb1

    prattmb1 Rookie

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    Aug 2, 2007

    What I've done is bought a bundle of cheap toys from Oriental Trading. That way you have a lot of variety and the kids love them, they really do!
     
  6. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2007

    Have them cash in their money on tickets for a class carnival. I'm holding 2 this fall, a haunted one for halloween, and a christmas carnival. (you've got to do something fun when the kids are hyper)

    ring toss, collect water bottles, spray paint them whatever color you wish and purchase shower curtain rings. put a sticker on the caps that earn prizes, or spray paint them a bright colour to match colors on a prize board.

    3 rings for a dollar, or 7 for $2 for example

    blindfolded games like pin the prize.

    have a prize board, and a blindfold for each student, or if you dont like blindfolds, have the student face you and pin behind them eyes open. if they pin a prize area, they win.

    ball toss:

    use ping pong balls with a hole drilled into them so they dont bunch all over the place, to knock down stuffed animals or the kids favorites (math workbooks, etc)

    ball roll:

    have the kids roll a ball, tennis or similar onto a sheet of plywood with holes. if the ball makes it to the other side or into a winning hole, they win.

    also instead of winning a prize each time, you could have a prize board.

    1-2 tickets = small prize
    3-4 tickets = 2 small prizes
    5-7 = 2 small or 1 med
    7-10 = 2 mediums
    11-15 = 2 med or 1 large
    16-20 = 2 large
    25 = "homework note" free pass
    30 = 10% bonus on any assignment of their choice

    try and get prizes that involve no money, and freebies. kids love no homework weekends. make them earn it.

    Just some thoughts,
    Mr. Skinner :D
     
  7. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 8, 2007

    When I had a classroom economy, I would buy things at the dollar store, but only if there was more than one in a pack... for example, a package of pencils may have 10 pencils...

    What about having a free time once a month? They pay for the things they want to do at free time.. a board game is ten dollars, computers are 20, art supplies, 10, etc. If there is a child who saves $100, have a special lunch with those kids.
     
  8. Jenlovestoteach

    Jenlovestoteach Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2007

    thanks everyone... I've been away, so I'm sorry I didn't respond in a more timely fashion! :)

    I only see the kids for 3 hours each week. Do you think it's better to use smaller amounts or larger denominations for their salaries for jobs and handing in HW, etc? Also, do you think it's a bad idea to "pay" them for handing in HW? Should it just be a weekly salary for their job and then good/bad behavior?
     
  9. h2omane

    h2omane Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2007

    I pay the kids up to 6 tokens per assignment. this way the kid understands if they got it all right or a few mistakes. the pay chart looks like this:

    The 6 Token Checklist:
    1. Did you write your name, the title and the date on your work?
    2. Have you followed all the directions?
    3. Did you use complete sentences, proper punctuation, and correct spelling?
    4. Is it neat, easy to read, and your best work?
    5. Have you checked your work for errors?
    6. Did you try your best to finish your work by the end of the day?

    I mark their work on a sticky note and put a T-number (T-5,6) if they didn't check their work for simple errors, and didn't finish it by the end of the day. They have a good 2 go folder that has the checklist, so they can look at the number(s) to find what to improve on. For my messy writers, If I can read it, they get the token, but if I can't read it, they lose out.

    The students also earn their tokens for reading books, 1 token per numbered page (120 pages = 120 tokens) so it doesn't matter if they read 1 book @ 500 pages, or 5 books @ 100 pages. I explain to them that reading books that are "just right" are more important than how many pages they have.

    for the jobs, there is a job application form with the salary information. it will be paid weekly or per completed job (depending on the type of position) in their catch-up folders is a job duties card, that lists the job they have and what is required to earn the salary. I wanted to put it on their desks, but it works better in their folders.

    They can accumulate tons of tokens per week - maybe up to 240 just for job and assignments, if they read a 60 page book, it could be 300. But, if they don't get their homework done, they owe 1 token per mark, per day. (math 15 marks, not done, 15 tokens) The next day if they still dont have their math done, it's another 15 tokens, not 30 tokens.

    they also spend their money on privilege cards: Sit by a friend, work with a partner instead of individually, get to sit on the comfy chair during math, etc. Plus I also have food prizes that are healthy snacks during our tasty tuesday. these snacks are purchased with tasty tuesday cards, at 50, 75 or 100 tokens per card. I make up a class set of treats, and offer I owe you's if any student doesn't have enough. if some kids are absent, my runner person takes the item to the principal, other teacher of their choice (Learning support, English as a second language, etc), or the secretary / custodian. the absent child keeps their Tasty Tuesday Ticket, for the next Tasty Tuesday.

    I'm writing a book here :D

    the top 5 earners get to plan class parties or activities during Wonderful Wednesdays. They decide how much each activity is worth and charge the students who want to participate accordingly.
    (watch a movie - 50 tokens, eat popcorn, 25 tokens, drink a smoothie, 100 tokens, play jeopardy, 75 tokens, play scotland yard 40 tokens, etc.)

    The tokens collected go into their (planners) wonderful wednesday box, and they count out or keep track of how many tokens were handed in (basically how much did the class have to spend to enjoy the day) we use this information in two ways, one, in the Wonderful Wednesday Binder as an entry sheet for price ideas, and two, the totals of all the party information for Math (food totals, boards game totals, electronic stimulation totals (movie, computer)), so that the next party planners have ideas to work from and costs for activities. It makes it easier on them and me. Plus they get to sign the sheet at the end of the party, and their name is recognized for years to come, I keep the binder and add to it each class party we have.

    I think that covers what I do in my class, any questions?

    Mr. Skinner :D
     

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