I thought I’d take my classroom economy one step further. I was really happy with how it had turned out so far, and it seemed to be a good lesson in responsibility. This time, I would sustain it for a month and make it a class challenge.
I gave each student in my class $20 worth of play money at the start of last month. I let them know that they needed to be responsible for this money for the entire month of November. Since there are about twenty school days in the month, this works out to be a dollar a day.
I started up a bankbook. I used a coil notebook and dedicated one page to each student. I locked up the classroom money kit and the bankbook in my cupboard. When a student needed to buy a new pencil, I took their twenty-dollar bill, made change, wrote it up in the bankbook, and handed out the new pencil. I fined students a dollar for not bringing back homework and for talking during the announcements.
After a week of this system, I pulled out the prize box. Anyone who still had $20 was able to select a prize for free from this teacher store. Other students could “buy” a prize for a dollar. I reminded them that the goal this month was to have the most money left at the end of it. Nobody took me up on my advice and everyone who had less than $20 spent a dollar on a prize. I don’t think I could blame them. I probably would’ve done the same thing in their position.
For the next three Fridays, I opened up the teacher store and gave prizes away to the people who still had $18.00 or more left. For everyone else I charged them a dollar. If a student had less than $10.00, I charged them $2.00 for the prize. And each Friday, everyone bought a prize.
This past Friday was the final day of the month long contest. I collected all of the money back and checked it against my records. I had one student who still had $18.00 left, one who had $16.00, and one who had $15.00 left. I awarded them some special prizes that I had brought in just for the event.
I’m not sure if this is saying anything but the three winners of this month long contest all happened to be girls. It makes me wonder if ladies happen to be better at managing finances than me. Just a question, what do you think?