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Does Anyone use a Classroom Economy?
Old 07-12-2007, 04:32 AM
 
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My school is big on using rewards in the classroom. While I'm not 100% in agreement with this, it's my first year teaching here and I don't want to make a lot of waves. So, I'm looking for something that uses rewards, but more as a teaching tool. I checked out Beth Newingham's ideas for creating a classroom economy. Then, I checked to see if it would fit in with my social studies curriculum, and it fits quite well.

Has anyone used a classroom economy with a bank and a store? If so, how has it worked for you? Did you pay for the store merchandise with your own money or get donations from parents? Did you have only things for them to purchase, or services as well? I'd like to include some sort of services that aren't as materialistic, such as eating lunch with the teacher, choosing a recess game, donating your money toward buying more books for the library, etc. At Christmas time, I'd like to offer the chance of donating your classroom money to buy gifts for needy children in the hospital or something like that.

I will "pay" the students for performing their classroom jobs, for perfect attendance, for 100% homework completion, etc. I will NOT pay them for good scores on tests or anything like that. I disagree with that. I think it would not motivate kids, and would actually cause a lot of students who don't get perfect scores to become resentful.

Any ideas? Any testimonials as to how it's worked in your classroom? This is the first rewards system I've found that I've actually been somewhat excited about, that fits in the curriculum, and that I think could work without helping exacerbate materialistic attitudes.


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I don't have an answer
Old 07-12-2007, 05:11 AM
 
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but I am going to use the economy idea. I like the idea of giving them a reward for doing homework instead of a grades but I don't know if I want to pay them to be a helper, I guess that is something I will have to figure out.

I will have rewards like eating lunch with teacher, no name pass, late homework pass, treasure box... but I don't know how much to "charge" for each thing. I want to have a scale so they can buy cheap items like a pencil, treasure box, sit in the "special" chair...and more expensive things like no homework pass, lunch with teacher, sit with a friend...

What do you use for money? I know a lot of people use tickets, but I was thinking of using stickers and having them on a sticker chart (I have a ton from when I taught pre-school). On the other hand, using fake money would be a great way to work on their money skills.

Also how often do you let them buy things? Once a week or every 6 weeks?

Sorry I added more questions than answering yours, but hopefully we will get some helpful replies!!
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Answers to your questions...
Old 07-12-2007, 05:49 AM
 
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I designed my own money template that goes along with the theme in my classroom. I use frogs and ponds as my theme, because I made FROGS binders (Fully Responsible, Organized and Growing Students). I call them Pond Bucks and they have denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20. I'm using the "money" so I can use the economy to teach the economics strand of my state standards and also to incorporate daily math skills, such as making change, multiplying, adding, subtracting, etc.

As far as how often to let them buy things, I'm not sure. I was going to give them their "salaries" once a week. We would discuss the salaries when I introduce the classroom economy. We would discuss which jobs were more difficult, which ones took the most skill, etc. and the class would determine a fair salary.
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File Type: doc Pond Bucks.doc (191.0 KB, 844 views)

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Old 07-12-2007, 06:04 AM
 
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I do one, and some years I pay them for grades and others I don't, depends on the group for what I pay them for. My site has many of the forms I use for it also. I make them keep a bank ledger. They're donated from a local back and the kids love to have a real one if you can get them

http://www.msstarbuck.com/Classroom/Jungle%20Jobs.html
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:07 AM
 
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i did this when i taught 3rd grade 2 years ago. i would give coins out to children if i caught them with good behavior, working well with a team, etc. sometimes i would make them pay if i had to continuously give them pencils, or if they wanted to sharpen pencils in the middle of class. it worked really well for them! they would go to our classroom store once a month and buy items. i also used it as a math tool, and if they bought something they would have to tell me how much change they needed back.

i used to buy a lot of my stuff at the dollar section at target and at the dollar section of michaels' craft store. these kids ate this activity up! they were super responsible with keeping their money (they kept it in film canisters).

i loved this activity. i tried it with my second graders this year, and they weren't as quite into it. i dn't know if they just weren't ready for that type of activity/responsibility. i'm not sure...i know i tried it for a month and it just was not successful this year. maybe it was the class, who knows! i'll try it again with my new group in september and we'll see how it goes. good luck!


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Economy
Old 07-12-2007, 07:25 AM
 
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I have used a very "minimalist" classroom economy using a credit card system before. It is very simple. Let me know if you want to know more about this. This year, I am doing the "full-blown" economy. I am sure you will do awesome, but being your 1st year, I would suggest keeping it as simple as possible. My 1st year was soooo overwhelming (and absolutely wonderful) that I could have never attempted an economy like Newinghams's at that point. I, however, have "organizational issues" that you probably don't have, so take that into consideration.
Good luck with it. I can't wait to hear how it goes!
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Not my first year teaching...
Old 07-12-2007, 07:53 AM
 
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It's not my first year teaching, just my first year at this school. There's no way I would have/could have attempted this my first year. My management was the area I felt I did the worst job in. That's why I'm looking for something different to try. I'm hoping, being that I'm teaching 5th grade this year, that the kids will be old enough to understand and complete most of the jobs that go along with a classroom economy. Beth Newingham is pretty amazing, that's for sure. I printed off every part of her scholastic economy unit, and looked through my curriculum to find activities that go right along and complement each other. I really think I can pull this off (she says hopefully!!!)
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Oh!
Old 07-12-2007, 07:56 AM
 
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Oh! Big difference! A 5th grade teacher at my old school used the economy and it was great...the kids loved it, they were well behaved, they learned...all good stuff! Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:32 AM
 
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I am interested in your credit card system. I love the money idea but know that it would become overwhelming for me. Could you please elaborate?
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:54 AM
 
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Sure...I used it for years..I gave each students a colored index card and had them decorate it and label it "Credit Card". Each student had a library pocket (one of the cutesy ones) attached to their desk with clear contact paper that I sliced a slit in using an Exacto (sp?) knife. This is where they were to keep their "credit card" so that I could walk over to their desk at anytime and give them a "credit" without them having to find their card in their desk. I got some of the decorative hole punchers (like those used for scrapbooking) and punched their card for appropriate behavior, doing their job, etc. On Fridays, I would get the prize boxes down. I had a 10, 15, and 20 box. The students would choose how many "credits" (aka punches) they wanted to turn in and "buy" a prize. I would just snip off the right number of punches. No change required...Very easy!!!


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Any parents ever complain
Old 07-12-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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that they don't like their child being involed with associating rewards and "money"? I love the idea of using an economy system in my classroom, I'm just concerned about parents.

What are your thoughts?
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Check out Beth Newingham's site...
Old 07-12-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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She explains her economy VERY well. When you approach it the way she does, I don't see how a parent could disagree with you. In my eyes, it's not really a reward system so much, as a simulation of a real economy. Meaning, the students get paid "salaries" for performing their jobs. I'm not going to use it as paying the kids for good behavior. I may use it to deduct money if they've had unacceptable behavior, but I'm not going to "pay" them for behaving as they are supposed to. I will pay them for completing their classroom job (which will be rotated weekly), completing their homework (which in my eyes is part of their job description as a student), I may give them a "bonus" for perfect attendance, etc., just as you would at a real job.
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Economy System
Old 07-12-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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My parents love my classroom money system. It is the number one thing parents positively remark about when I have them fill in end of the year evaluations. My students earn a salary each week. They are fined for things like not doing homework, not being prepared for class, poor behavior etc... I have a clipboard I keep track of the fines on. At the end of the week I pay them their salary minus their fines. A student must earn 140 out 200 dollars to attend Fun Friday. I give out bonus money during the week for things like winning a game, getting an A on a paper, doing something extra nice or extra special. At the beginning of the year I give a lot of bonus money as I work at creating my classroom environment. As the year goes on, I let up because the kids start automatically doing the positive behaviors. Students pay bills once a month. I have a small weekly auction(3-5 little things like pencils or stickers). I have a big auction once a quarter. People donate things to me for my auctions- family, friends, students, parents, even former students' parents. I find things in my house, purchase things at garage sales and after holiday sales. I try to purchase one larger item per quarter. Basketballs and footballs are always popular no matter what quality.

My system has been highly sucessful. My students are rarely in the office because of any classroom problems. The other fifth grade teachers plan to adopt my system next year because of the few problems I seem to have compared to them.
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Old 07-13-2007, 05:06 AM
 
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Do you have anything typed up that you could attach that you use in your classroom...sounds like your's is great and a bit different. I would like to see some more details if you have anything.
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:11 AM
 
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I've never attached a file here, but I will try. This is the information I give the parents and students. I am changing the name to Moose money this year to fit my classroom theme
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File Type: doc Wildcat Dollars Student Information.doc (30.5 KB, 1165 views)
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:21 AM
 
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Thanks! Your system looks great...what grade do you teach? Is this for 5th graders?
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Classroom economy
Old 07-13-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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I teach 5th.
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for 1st grade?
Old 07-13-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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I have been thinking about doing this, but for 1st grade. Since my students are so little, I thought I would pay them in coin amounts. I think I'll begin the year w/ pennies and then move up to nickels, dimes. I thought about having classroom jobs per week and paying them a certain amount for a job well done. I also thought about deductions for behavior issues (i.e. warning, 1 penny taken away, another penny taken away, etc..) Has anyone ever used this system for children so small? What results did you have? Did you think the working with money amounts everyday was beneficial to the students? I would LOVE feedback!!!!
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classroom economy
Old 07-15-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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I teach 4th grade. I pay my students $1 for everyday they come to school. $5 for A on test, $4 for B on test, $3 for C on test, $1 for passing with a D. I do random desk checks for neatness for $5. Anything you really want to pay them for. I have to tell you, parents loved the $ for test scores. Parents told me their child was studying more at home and asking for them to quiz them for tests. They were appreciative that their child was motivated to STUDY!!

I keep a behavior chart made from library card holders with student's name on them glued on a poster board. In each student's card holder I have $1 bill warnig), $5 bill ( note home in agenda), $10 bill (call home to parent), and a $20 bill (disciplinary form to principal). For each unwanted behavior I move the bill in front to the back.

On Friday, I collect $1 for each unwanted behavior as a fine. I explain it like this; if you speed you get a ticket and FINE. If you pay your bills late you must also pay a fine as late charges. I try to connect the "fine thing" to real world situations.

Students save their money in small manilla envelopes inside a math folder they keep in my room. At the end of the 9 weeks, we have a fun day and charge different amounts for each activity and snacks and things of that sort. If you have lots of $$ then you get to do lots more things than those who don't.

Also, if someone comes to my class without pencil or paper, they must use their money to buy one from me. I keep pencils and paper on hand all the time. $3 for paper, $5 for a pencil. I keep the prices steep and my students almost always have pencil and paper with them.

I have used a store before but that got too expensive and kids did'nt like what was in the store.

Last edited by Pirate_Andi; 07-15-2007 at 10:17 PM..
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:22 PM
 
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this is great! very detailed. I can tell you put much thought into this.
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:11 AM
 
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i know this as been a year but I am wanting to try the classroom economy thing this year. Can you tell me how you did things. Thank you!
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Fines
Old 07-17-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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To those of you that have used the economy and fines...
Are the fines helpful for behavior? I have wanted to try something like this, and I think it would be better than having them miss their recess. Have you found that they really want to hold onto that money?? Also, do you use an auction or a store? I don't have that much extra money to spend on stuff, so maybe an auction would be better because they will drive up the prices?
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