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.
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!
Ocean Themed Classroom Cash
Zoo Themed Money
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
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!