A few weeks ago I introduced my classes to a classroom economy. For those of you unfamiliar with a classroom economy, it is a system setup for classroom management and introduces students to how an economy works.
The system can be as simple or complex as you like. I am using the system available for free at http://www.myclassroomeconomy.org/
Everything you need is on the website, or if you don’t have access to a printer, they will mail you everything you need for free. I am mostly using the resources available for Grades 7-8 since I teach 8th grade science. I modified some of the jobs and added a few that are specific just to my classroom. For example I have an Entrance Door Monitor and an Exit Door Monitor. The Entrance Door Monitor makes sure students coming into the classroom get their daily warm-up.
The gist of a classroom economy is that every student has a job that they get paid for in classroom dollars. They are responsible for paying for rent of their desks and/or chairs. Most of the jobs pay around $150/week while rent costs $800/month. Students get paid extra for high scores on tests or participation in extra-curricular activities.
One thing that was keeping from trying this sooner was keeping track of what I called, “Kubala Dolla’s.” After much searching, I found an online bank created for this particular purpose. You can setup a free account at http://www.mykidsbank.org/ You will have to setup accounts for all of your students, but I find that this is much easier than keeping up with all of that paper.
One of the best things about mykidsbank.org is that you can print your own money in denominations of your choosing. Each bill you print will have its’ own unique code so students just can’t go and make copies of them. They will have to enter the code whenever they deposit their cash into the bank.
Since I use mykidsbank.org, the Banker’s job is a little different than what is described on myclassroomeconomy.org. My bankers are responsible for taking fines out of students’ accounts issued by the Police Officer. Bankers also make transfers when a student writes a check. I made my own check template which you can download from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gjaqjbrf62416rk/Checks_template.docx
This upcoming week will be the first time students have to pay rent, so we will see how many students have saved enough money. I am still formulating a plan for those students who do not have enough money for rent.
I will post more about the success and challenges that I face with this system in the future.