Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classroom Economy

A few weeks ago I had posted a Monday Made It about my classroom economy helping hands board. I had quite a  bit of interest in what I do, so I have finally gotten this post worked out... AND A 30+ PAGE FILE FOR FREE FROM TPT WITH EVERYTHING YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ ABOUT! :)

So here goes. How I do a classroom economy in my 2nd grade room!

In my room, each student gets a job. I have a list of 25 so far that I use for my classroom. I have the jobs displayed on my helping hands board.

Each hand has velcro on the back, so when students change jobs every 2-3 weeks, I can easily move their number! I am really excited about using this this year. The colored background is just scrapbooking paper that I cut up into 4in x 6 in rectangles. That way a 12in x 12in piece of paper gave my 6 equal rectangles. Then I glued on the job name and clipart, laminated it, put velcro on, and then adhered the numbered hand!

Now for my students to get a job, I have them fill out a job application. I have two different versions that I've used.

This one I use currently for my 2nd graders.
This is one I used with my 5th graders.

At the beginning of the year I go through each job and we talk about what the duties are. I'll show them my ring of jobs, and flip through them all so they can visually see what that job's duties are.

When they begin their application, I model and do an example application at the beginning of the year to make sure my students fill them out with COMPLETE sentences and SPECIFIC reasons for why they want their job. Each job they've chosen needs a good reason for why I should hire them for the job. For example:

1. Veterinarian
2. Tax Collector
3. Operator

1. I want this job because I am responsible and help take care of my dog at home.
2. I want this job because I am good at math and wouldn't let anyone forget to pay their fines!
3. I want this job because I am polite and know how to answer a phone.

You'll be amazed at the creative responses students will give! I make sure to let my students know that neat applications with fabulous reasons will always persuade me to give them their first choice. We also talk about how behavior in class can affect getting their dream job as well. If they're not respectful, then how can I trust them to take care of our class pet?

Another thing we discuss is that sometimes a student might not get any of their choices. We do some role playing on how to act if that were to happen, and I let them know that if they are a good sport I will make sure they get one of their choices next time!

What if a student is irresponsible and doesn't do their job? Well, I fire them! I tell them all the time that if they can't do the duties of their job, then I will give it to someone who can. Just like what happens in the real world!

What if a student doesn't want a job? So far I've only had one student in my years of teaching refuse a job. I let him be unemployed. I wasn't about to pressure him into a job if I knew I would just end of firing him from it. By the next job cycle though, he had noticed the extra money other students were getting and wanted to apply. If he hadn't I would have sat down and discussed what it was that made him not want to have a job.

So I keep talking about money! Well YES! My students earn money for everything they do! Participating, trying their best, helping another out without being asked, just sitting their quietly, ANYTHING! It's amazing what the other students will do when they see me paying their friends for good behavior. And the great thing, I don't even need to break stride from my lesson.

When the year starts, I always have students design our classroom money. We then take a vote on which is our favorite, and that is the design I will copy for the year. I love that it is student-made and different each year! Here are some examples from the past few years:
I always make 1's, 5's, and 10's for kids. It's such a great way for them to practice skip counting and the real world skill of counting money!

To help kids keep track of their money, I usually give them an envelope. My coworker actually sewed little wallets! Super cute! And in past years with my 5th graders we all did a little origami, and folded our own wallets out of construction paper. I used the instructions found here on youtube.

Now students don't just earn money, they can lose it too!

During the first few weeks of school we decide on taxes and bonuses. Taxes are where students owe the teacher money, and bonuses are how they can earn extra money throughout the day. Here are some posters on what we came up with last year:

I also have students give out possible dollar amounts for each item they come up with, and they vote on how much that particular tax or bonus should be.  Although.. the teacher always receives the right to veto something outrageous! I feel like students have more ownership this way.

To make it easy to track student's taxes, I place a tax card on their desk. Each tally is worth $5. If they commit an offense that is on the tax chart like talking out, I can quietly without breaking the lesson, make one tally mark. The students realizes what they've done and hopefully corrects it. If not, I have no problem tallying them again. And again. And again if necessary. I've done it!!

Students pay their taxes/fines at the end of every school day. You could have them do it once a week if you choose. One of our classroom jobs is a tax collector. At the end of the day they go around checking how students added up the tallies and making sure all taxes are paid. They will put a star next to the day it is to show that student has paid. If a student cannot pay I usually do a lunch detention, or recess loss, or working their debt off. Whatever the situation entails. Sometimes other students will loan them money.. super cute!

Here's an example:

Everyday at recess, I allow students to bring their money out and buy something. I have items for $50 $75 and $100. I try to create things for students to buy that won't cost me a lot of money.

Students LOVE LOVE LOVE buying things off our posters! It's amazing how much they enjoy lunch with the teacher, or buying a pillow for the day! The really sweet thing is when they start to share money and buy things like special lunch together! It's adorable that they are willing to put their money together and work as a team.

Since I've been in 2nd grade, I haven't done too much besides what I mentioned above. Some things I did do when I taught 5th grade to take the economy to the next step:
  • Wrote checks for students for doing their jobs.
  • Had a banker stamp and enter checks onto a spread sheet. They would add it to student's previous balances and write them a receipt for their current account balance.
  • Students cashing checks would sign their check on the back in cursive.
  • A cashier would open the store every month or so. They had a cash register they used to ring up items. 
  • Students buying items would have to figure out if they had enough to spend on what they wanted. They would then have to write a check in cursive for the amount they spent. They would then subtract it from their bank receipt to see how much they had left.
  • Students were also charged rent for their desks and had disaster strikes to their desks. I'm thinking insurance could be fun to have them buy too so if disaster strikes, insurance helpers could help them fix it up.
  • I've read on Beth Newingham's about a class economist. They analyze what's being bought at the store and create graphs about it. Sounded cool! I've gotten a lot of my ideas from her, so if you are interested in more, definitely check her site out above!!!
Are you interested in a classroom economy after all this?!?! Well I promise a 30+ page file with all that you saw above for FREE!

Please let me know what you think :) I hope y'all find it helpful. If I could give anyone advice, it would be to start a classroom economy! It's the most amazing management I have every found and teaches such great real world skills!


Kaylee's Education Studio said...

It looks like you have a great classroom jobs system created.

Lana said...

What a wonderful classroom management tool! I bet your kiddos love it!

TeacherKirra said...

Amanda, this is amazing! I have been wanting to try this but I've been a little nervous. This system, however, looks great. Thanks!

Becca Morris said...

Thanks for sharing. I am also going to do a classroom economy this year. I didn't think of taxes, maybe next year...

Simply 2nd Resources

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