One of the big things I’m working on this summer (mostly during the lulls in summer school computer lab :) is my classroom economy. The bread and butter of my classroom management is the Scholar Dollar system, otherwise known as the “Checkbook” system. I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, when I student taught in Orange City, IA the 4th grade teacher I worked with used the checkbook system and it was so effective that I have implemented it every year…and every year it gets more involved! Here it is in a nutshell.
- I ask my local bank to donate 25 checkbook registers and plastic checkbook covers–they have come through every year! Thanks Wells Fargo!
- At the beginning of the year each student applies to the “Scholar Dollar” bank and receives a checkbook.
- They are responsible to keep track of their credits and debits–more on that later!
- Students accumulate Scholar Dollars and at the end of the 6 weeks we have “Scholar Dollar Fair” where students work together to come up with an idea for a booth, bring the items they want to sell, set their prices, man their booths and sell their wares! (See Scholar Dollar pictures here)
Ok, that was the simple version…let me flesh it out for you!
Why I Do It:
I’m a huge advocate of creating a classroom community where learners are actively involved in every aspect of the classroom and where students take responsibility. Scholar Dollars are FANTASTIC for this! The first few weeks of school I spend a lot of time explaining and modeling how students are to keep their checkbooks, they catch on very quickly, mostly because they are so excited! (And aren’t kids way more capable than we give them credit for sometimes?)
How I do It:
I already explained that I have checkbook registers donated, here’s the rest of the story.
Attendance–I use the checkbook system in every aspect of my classroom management. When kids arrive in the morning they take their checkbook out of their pocket in our pocket chart. This serves as my attendance system–if the checkbook is still there the kiddo is absent. (Click here to see the bulletin board)
Classroom Jobs–Every student has a daily classroom job that they are expected to perform each day at the end of the day to help keep our classroom neat and organized. They are paid $1 per day for coming to school (attendance) and performing their job. If they aren’t at school, they don’t get paid…sound like real life?! Besides applying for a Scholar Dollar checking account, students also fill out an application for a special classroom job. This application asks them about their strengths and weaknesses and even requires them to provide a “reference”. All these things are great real life applications and open up conversations about why we are doing it. These jobs are things I need throughout the day and that need a responsible committed student.
Credits–As I mentioned, students are paid $1/day for coming to school and performing their classroom job. They can also get money for the following things:
- Getting their weekly folder signed–The first day=$2, The second day=$1, Every day after= -$1
- Good grades on tests–90-100%=$3, 80-89=$2, 70-79=$1
- Special Classroom Jobs–Depends on job!
- Bonuses= Good report from a substitute, compliments from other teachers, random acts of kindness
Debits–There are also fines and debits for things that happen in the classroom
- Color Changes–If students get their color changed they loose $$ (Yellow=-$1, Orange=-$2, Red=-$3, Blue=-$5)
- Losing Homework–$1/Sheet
- Speeding Tickets (Misbehavior in hallway)–$1
- Late Fees–$1/Day
Purchases–There are some items students can purchase from me if they choose
- Extra pencil (we pool our pencils, but they can purchase “special” pencils to keep at their desk)
- Homework passes
- Free time on the computer