Saturday, August 15, 2015

Classroom Economy

We started our Classroom Economy two years ago.  Our 5th grade team loves it.  We share kids because we rotate for Science, Math, and Social Studies.  Each of us has a clipboard that travels with the class for marking fines and bonuses.  Actually, it’s someone’s job to carry the clipboard.  

At the beginning of the year, I present this presentation and let them apply for three jobs using this application. I take a look at their top three choices and write out a job offer on this form.  Every student has a job and gets paid $200/week.  Jobs include
  • Crossing Guard AM or PM,
  • Primary Cadet,
  • Banker/Bookkeeper,
  • Homework Helper,
  • Attendance Manager,
  • Messenger,
  • Materials Manager, and others


You can see more about our jobs by clicking HERE and can download the editable slideshow HERE.  


We pay in Cougar Cash in denominations of $50, $100, and $500 with a big paw print in the middle.  Each bill is printed with the school year on it and each denomination is a different color.  This prevents an older sibling from passing down their money at the end of the year to a younger sibling.  You can download money templates HERE, so you can print your own.  


A $50 Bonus can be given for earning 100% on a test or making the teacher or other staff member incredibly happy.  Fines of the same amount can be collected for forgetting homework, not being prepared for class, or making a teacher unhappy.  A lie will cost a student $500.  We don’t tolerate lying!  


Every month, the students owe the bank $1000 for rent of their desk.  On the last Friday of the month, the bankers collect rent.  In order to be able to pay rent, students have to have earned some bonuses.  If, for some reason, they are not able to pay their rent, they have to see the Bank President (me) for a loan.  Loans have to be paid back within a week.  A student can buy his or her desk for $3000, so he or she no longer has to pay rent.  But then they have to pay property taxes (April 15) and watch out for natural disasters that happen to owners.  


One of the natural disasters came about after a nasty thunderstorm in our city.  A (ficticious) tree fell onto a desk and Miller’s Tree Service had to come to cut the tree and clean up the damage.  OOOOOHHH!  Miller’s Tree Service charges $200 each.  To tell the students about this natural disaster, I found a picture of some arborists with chain saws and made a sign on my SMARTBoard.  The kids loved it, even though they had to pay for the ‘repairs’.  Another natural disaster had to do with snow removal and in another month, the sump pump at each owned desk had to be replaced.  These give owners a need to raise more Cougar Cash.


Students need Cougar Cash for two more things.  First, we collect donations for our service learning projects.  You can read more about that in my Service Learning IS Social Studies blog post.  The second way students spend their Cougar Cash is with passes.  I have passes for
  • Hat Day
  • Stinky Socks Day
  • Switcheroo
  • Music to my Ears
  • Rock and Read
  • Lunch Buddy
  • Homework Pass.
Students use these to wear a hat or go shoeless in the classroom, switch desks to sit by a friend, bring music to share, read in my big rocking chair in the classroom, sit by a friend from another class at lunch, or get out of doing a little homework.  The store (my student teacher desk) is open on Fridays during Banking.  Students can buy one pass each week, but once in a while I have a sale and they can buy one of each if they like.  

Ultimately, the Classroom Economy is used to foster discipline and good decision-making and to teach real-life saving, budgeting, and profit benefits.  Everybody’s job contributes to the smooth running of our 5th grade and has value to all.  It has turned out to be lots of fun.  You can learn more about Classroom Economy by clicking www.classroomeconomy.org and you can download my passes, cash, and book-keeping forms at my TPT Store HERE.

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