Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Classroom Economy

In my classroom, I have created a microcosm of the world in order to provide my students with real world experiences.  My students are hired for classroom jobs each week.  At the beginning of the year they fill out their "application" for jobs, sharing their strengths and expertise.  Each week they have a job responsibility.  Each job also earns pay every Friday.  We use a classroom currency of plastic coins to run our money system. The payment is dependent on how much work is involved.  For example, the highest paying job is the "Currency Exchanger" or Banker in my classroom.  My students also get paid for their good behavior daily.  My behavior plan focuses on positive reinforcement, where children start every day on green.  If they stay on green all day they get paid ten cents at the end of the day.  If they are really well behaved and move up to blue, they get paid fifteen cents.  On really special occasions they get paid twenty five cents for purple and a "Stingray Salute" a school wide behavior award.  Even if they have had an okay day, with a few minor problems, and had to move down to yellow they still get paid five cents.  If my student ends the day on red, a major offense, there is no payment included.  My children keep their money in a money jar in their desk. Every other Friday afternoon I open Miss Lak's store, baskets that cover my kidney table with different prices.  Depending on the week you might find many different items.  Erasers, crayons, pencils, books, and other teaching materials, along with toys and games.  My students learn really quickly how to count change, a difficult second grade concept.  Since they want to spend their money, its perfect motivation for counting coins and understanding the value of money. Most items range between twenty five cents and one dollar, with special items costing two dollars and fifty cents.  In this way, I teach the value of saving verse spending.  If they want a "big ticket" item, they have to save money for about a month.  One of the biggest sellers is Lunch with Teacher, an outdoor picnic lunch with me every other Wednesday.  They love that personal time with me, and don't mind paying the seventy five cent fee at each store to come eat lunch with me.  My students also get paid for returning important papers and documents.  I also charge them five cents a day for incomplete homework.  Believe me, they WILL turn in homework when they realize their hard-earned money has to be given back. I provide my students with two pencils, a glue stick, white board marker, and box of crayons each semester.  If they need a new pencil, they can pay fifteen cents to get one (with their name on it).  I'm sure you know how quickly pencils disappear and break in the classroom!  As soon as I started charging for new pencils, the pencil world has changed.  They last so long, and remain in great condition.  My students learn to keep control of their belongings, and do a great job of it.  I think a classroom economy is a great way to teach valuable life lessons early in life.
Airline Jobs at LAK Airways

Our Classroom Behavior System

LAKBANK is open every afternoon!


  1. What a wonderful post Suzie! It sounds like you have a great thing going on. I am going to be sharing about some of my more unusual classroom jobs this summer as I share about Conscious Discipline. These are jobs that have had a HUGE impact of my the Greeter, the Cheerleader, the Encourager and the Kindness Recorder. I hope you come check it out.

    I love how you are teaching so many life skills that will impact them for a very long time. I can tell that your classroom is an amazing place to learn. I am so excited to now follow you! =)

    Heather's Heart

    1. Thank you Heather. I too have used jobs like you mentioned when my students are working on group projects. We spend a lot of time in my classroom as Bucket Fillers too, and pay attention to kindness. Thank you for Following!

  2. Hi, I checked out your blog. It is terrific. Love the classroom economy and the way you have them "apply" for their jobs. Will do that next year! Such great ideas!

    Thank you!

    Sara from Smarter Not Harder in 2nd Grade,blog.