Classroom Management, Economy Style

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This is the funnest motivational tool that I have used in my classroom….Classroom Cash! My students simply enjoyed earning money for their hard work. Some may say it is bribery, I say it is motivational.I usually change my classroom theme each year, so last year, since I had a rodeo theme, I made “Cowboy Cash.” I used this theme again and the children loved it-again!

I use classroom cash as a Classroom Economy, for students to earn money for doing their job as a classroom citizen. They do not earn money for just being nice or for being good. I carefully integrated state standards and research-backed ideas into this idea and system. Math and Responsibility are the key skills! 

Key Focus Skills

1. Students learn to use self-control to earn money, by following class rules of turning in homework on time, putting away their belongings and following school rules such as walking in the hallway, turning in forms sent home, etc….

2. Students learn to set goals and strive to reach an academic goal, such as learn the sight words for the grading period, read their emergent reader book by the end of the week with no mistakes or learn a specific target skill.

3. Students learn Math skills as they add $1 to form groups of 5 and $5 to form groups of 10. Then, $10 to form groups of 20.

4. Children  learn to save their money and learn endurance.

5. They use their counting, addition and subtraction skills as they spend, earn and save money on a daily and/or weekly basis.

Classroom Store

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Shown below is our class store where the students can spend the money that they earned throughout the week. I wait until the end of the day on Friday for students to spend their money. It takes about 30 minutes, but I definitely justify it because it is a full subtraction lesson with each student one on one. At this time, I have the other students either reading, working in free stations or watching a video. When I had the Rodeo theme, I named my store “The Buffalo Store.” The first drawer contains $5 items, the second drawer has $10 items and the bottom drawer has $20 items. So, for a student to shop, he has to have earned at least $5. If he has only $4 for the week, he cannot shop and has to wait until next week-bummer!

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Ocean Themed Classroom Cash

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One dollar Ocean money

Five dollar whale money

Ten dollar dolphin money

Twenty dollar shark money

Zoo Themed Money 

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Click here for zoo bucks, featuring the: $1 Bear Buck, $5 Jaguar Buck, $10 Lion Buck and $20 Tiger Buck.  For each dollar, I make copies on different colored card stock paper. It holds up for a few school years without laminating! Once the children earn their money, I have the children store their money in their pencil box.

Insect/Frog/Rabbit Themed Money

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Daily Folder Calendars

I send home a daily folder with my students for the purpose of keeping communication open and ongoing between parents and myself. Before school starts, I scope out the cheapest pocket folders. This year, I found 1 cent folders at Office Depot. I also found 9 cent folders at Walgreens. Wal-Mart price matched the folders for me too, when I had to go back and get more. I simply print out one calendar per month and staple it to the inside right of a pocket folder. At the end of each month, I staple the new calendar sheet on top. This is a great way to keep track of student behaviors, trends and progress. It is great tool for conferencing and is also helpful for special education students data collection. I leave the left side open for parents to send lunch money or notes to me.

Transition song posters (click to open free downloadable document) I use these posters just to remind me to sing between classroom activities. Students need more than just a verbal reminder. Sometimes they ignore the sound of the teacher’s voice, but as soon as they hear a tune, they listen and start moving!

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8 comments

      1. Hi Andrea! Thanks for getting back to me. I think it’s awesome that you give the Kinders the responsibility of money. I never considered that this could work for them! I used classroom cash with fourth-graders only! Thanks again!

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      2. Hi Bethany,
        They really love it, also. Grown up’s never really give young children “money,” so when their teachers give them money, even if it’s not real-it makes them feel so special and important. If you decide to use the classroom cash-please let me know how it goes. If you have a classroom “theme” you can make your own money by just inserting a table on Microsoft Word and inserting clipart into each section on the table. -Andrea

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  1. Great idea, an economy. When and how do you pay your students…do you list the rules for them to see ahead of time…do you manage the cash, keep track of who gets what or allow the students to manage their own cash…also, what sorts of items are in the 2o dollar drawer?
    i really enjoy your site. I was trained in Montessori and now in a Catholic school. Your lessons are brilliant and I have decided to use the Common Core framework this year. Thank you very much!

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    1. Thank you Jeanne! I pay the students as soon as they earn their money. I list the rules (5 or less) always at the start of the school year. I go over them daily and throughout the day and throughout the school year. When I first started implementing class cash, I taught Pre-K and was afraid the students would not be able to keep track of their money. I used a old library book pockets and pasted them to a posted board. Each pocket belonged to a student. It worked well, until money started going missing! Then, I put the responsibility into the students hands. Since each child had their own school supplies box, I instructed them to place their money in their box, close up their box and place their box in their chair pocket. They did great at managing their own money. Some students didn’t, but they soon learned too! When I started teaching Kindergarten, they did great also. There were several students who saved their money also! All of my items in the prize drawers were donated by parents and were also items that my own children stopped “loving” at home. However, I tried to place larger sized items in the $20 drawer. Thank you for asking-and thanks for stopping by my site! Be sure to go by my TpT store too, for more freebies! https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Green-Bean-Kindergarten-3433

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