Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Classroom Economy

I know many of you have heard of implementing Classroom Economy into the classroom.  I just started this last year, and my kids absolutely LOVE economics!  This process makes my life easier and it serves as an all year behavior management plan offering incentives and consequences.

The original idea came from Beth Newingham and she offers her Classroom Economics Lesson Plan here.  I have made many modifications in my classroom, and I am constantly making more changes to make sure I am really helping students connect our classroom economy to real world economics.

Basically, the first week of school my students learn how to work together to form a classroom community.  We make a list of important jobs that should be evident in the classroom, and students apply for jobs using real applications.  You can find my application here :)  Then we talk about which jobs are needed every day, some days, and not very often.  From there we make a salary chart.  Some jobs get $50 every two weeks and some jobs may only get $35 or $30 every two weeks. Students then design classroom money, and we vote on the design we like best.  Teachers, get your volunteers to run off the money on colored paper and laminate LOTS!  Especially ones, fives, and tens.

After I assign students jobs, I take their pictures, put them on  popsicle sticks, and put their sticks in a pocket on our Classroom Economy bulletin board. This way they can see their jobs and their salary schedules. Students are then trained for about two weeks before I hand out paychecks.  Once these kiddos have their jobs down, that's when my job becomes easier!  My pencils are sharpened, my board is erased, the floor is swept, buckets are neat, computers are off, etc.  Busy teachers love good helpers!  Students get paid from how well they perform their jobs over a two weeks period.  They can earn extra money for showing respect, giving a brilliant answer or explanation, or for making an A in conduct.  I fine my students for a C, D, or F and fine them for other things like missing homework constantly, loosing materials, getting up without raising their hands (MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE), or whatever you would like.  I usually give students a few weeks before I fine them for breaking classroom rules.

When students begin saving their money, I open up the class store.  To supply my store I do a few things:  Ask parents to donate old toys or books, get a few items from the dollar store, and save and use many old Christmas gifts that students give me (shhhh...don't tell!) I also open up the coupon store where students can purchase a drink from the lounge, eating lunch with the teacher, shoes off for a day, sit by a friend, free computer time, and many other fun, inexpensive options.  Some days we have Class Store days...usually on a Friday when they've had a pretty good week. Click here to get a free preview of some of my coupons.  You can find fancier coupons at my TPT store :)

Now...for the most fun!  When my students dive into economics, we discuss producers, consumers, resources, supply, demand, etc.  (I am developing a unit, so check back soon to see a day by day lesson plan) During this unit we discuss local businesses and what sorts of things it takes to make a business.  My students eventually design a business with a partner or individually, and develop a Business Plan.  Students brainstorm together to create a business that provides goods or services and also beats out competition.  They create sings to advertise and some even create business cards and coupons! I schedule Economy Day about 2 weeks into the unit, making sure that my students understand the key terms so that the day is meaningful and I send home a note making sure parents know what is going on because the kiddos need a bit of help from home.  The students go crazy with their businesses!  Check out the pictures below from my class about a week ago.  On Economy Day we had colored lemonade, massages, nail painting, lotion, jewelry boxes, popcorn, journals, toy stores, lanyards, and more!  Students loved earning and spending money to discover the profit made at the end of the day.

Hope you enjoy!

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