Why Do A Classroom Economy?
Our class economy starts the first day of school and continues every day, all year long. It covers an entire economic unit of Social Studies which, by choosing to combine it with my classroom management plan, will teach students to be financially responsible in a real-world activity on a daily basis. These skills will benefit them even beyond 4th grade.
Students will learn:
· in doing their jobs, they earn a paycheck for helping me manage the classroom efficiently
· how to budget their spending and make scheduled rent payments
· the value of saving to get what they want
· to practice important math skills
· the value of wise money choices: putting the “need to pay rent” before “ wants at the class store”
· financial literacy through the use of money terms/vocabulary
How It Works
· Every 2 weeks, students who have done their jobs earn paychecks and/or bonus money,pay fines, and purchase prizes at our class store, all with classroom economy currency.
· Students pay rent for their desks at the end of the month.
· All of this is organized daily using their Account Logs that are kept on their desks.
· Students keep their money (play money) in small pencil boxes we call “wallets”.
· Money earned is called “credits” and money lost is called “debits”.
· If a student earns too many debits and can’t pay desk rent, they must get another job to earn extra money, just like in the real world. Of course, there are always opportunities to earn credits through “catching them being good”, bonus work, and compliments from other teachers/adults, etc.
The response from the students is overwhelmingly positive. They love to take part in helping run the classroom, have ownership of their choices, and learn from their mistakes. They know it’s not a one time opportunity; if they have made some bad choices, they know they can turn it around. I have seen some be just short for rent and cannot buy from the class store that day. Sure enough, by next payday, they’ve earned bonus moneyand paid their back rent and next month’s rent. The value of watching them practice real life skills and learn from their mistakes is priceless.