Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom Economy

Two posts in one day?  Why Wendy, it's almost as if you have too much time on your hands.  Oh wait, you do.

I don't know how to relax without a book in my hand.  I can sit in one position, reading a book, for well over a few hours.  I can watch TV, but I have to be doing other stuff as well.  Barring leaving the house to go shopping or watch a movie, I don't know how to have nothing to do.  I can't remember relaxing before, and my internship year left me with no time to relax anyway.  During winter break, there were several times when I would leaf through a magazine or watch TV and suddenly panic, thinking there was something I was supposed to be doing.  Then I remembered that classes were over, and I had already turned everything in, but it was still not a pleasant feeling.  That's why I started this blog before having a job and classroom of my own to write about - the feeling that I needed to do something to prepare.

In my last post, I mentioned my classroom economy.  Here's a better idea of what I plan to do.

There will be jobs that students perform in my class.  I may not have enough jobs for all students, but there will be jobs, such as door holder, electrician (makes sure the lights are turned off), banker (changing 1s into 5s, handing out money when I can't), and my personal favorite: the hydration specialist.  I am never without a water bottle, it is like my security blanket.  I have a student who is in charge of making sure the water bottle goes with me when I switch classes (kids at our school switch from 3rd grade on up) and make sure that it is always full.

Cute story interjection:  I had a semi-long-term substitute job in a 3rd grade classroom.  I asked the students to apply for certain jobs, I had them listed and the "job description" on the projector.  I thought it was a  neat exercise in persuasive writing.  Two girls applied for hydration specialist, and one gave me these two reasons:  She had an "eagle-eye" and could spot my bottle when it was empty, and she knew where the coldest water fountain was.  Needless to say, she got the job.

Back to the economy, the students who do these jobs will get paid for them.  Students can also earn money for correct behavior (like if I call everyone to the carpet but only 3 students are paying attention and come quietly and right away), and for doing odd jobs here and there.  On Fridays, they get the chance to show me how much money they have. They must count it, have a friend count it, and then write the amount both in number and word form.  They can spend their money on either the treasure box or every $10 buys a coupon.  The coupons vary from grade to grade.  I'm not going to let Kindergarteners bring their iPods to school and listen to music while working at their desk or reading,  and I probably won't have a ton of 5th graders opting to bring a stuffed animal to school.  No-shoes day, lunch with the teacher or a positive note/email home, those can work for everyone.

Another job I will have will be the economist.  I got this idea from a fabulous lady named Beth Newingham.    As students are picking prizes, the economists track what they buy.  They come to me with what is the most popular and the least popular, for boys and girls.  We work together with this information to decide things.  Maybe I should buy more clip-on earrings, they seem to be a big seller.  Maybe I should take out the "gum chewing" coupons, no one seems interested in those.  Perhaps some items in the treasure box should be put on "clearance".  I'm not sure how often I will change jobs, but I do want every student to get to be the economist at some point.

I'd also love if there was a time when my students could each make a few of a product and sell it in the classroom store, teaching them about entrepreneurship, how to price things, supply and demand, etc, but that might not fit into our year.  Either way, I'm excited about putting the classroom economy to work.  How do your students earn rewards?  

1 comment :

  1. What a clever classroom management exercise and it definitely sounds like something the kids will enjoy in the process! Many points for being super creative! :)