I really feel that having an economy system promotes a sense of community, teaches kids to be more responsible, and they learn money management along with many other important life skills.
In this post, I am going to share with you how I run classroom jobs, bank, and store with my students. I will also be sharing with you some printables that I use, which you will be able to download for free.
Setting up Jobs the First Week of School
Before jumping right into my class jobs and economy system, I begin by introducing the jobs to my students over the first couple weeks of school. Each day I select students to volunteer to complete the jobs. This allows the students to practice performing the jobs, which allows all of my jobs to run seamlessly throughout the remainder of the year.
After about 2-3 weeks (by this time the kids are really pumped up and are asking me daily, "When will we get to apply for jobs?"), the class helps determine how much each job is worth. By now, they know how each job operates, so they are able to come up with a weekly payment for the jobs. Each job is paid differently depending on the level of difficulty. The kids take a vote to determine how much each job should be paid. I love having the kiddos help make the decision about how much each job is worth. This is just another way to help them feel like they are part of a community.
Below is a picture of the payroll I use to keep track of how much I will be paying each person for their job. I left the payment part blank so that you can determine how much you want to pay your students.
The Application Process
Once we have determined the payment for each job, it's time to apply! I walk the students through the application process the first time so they understand my expectations.
My students keep their jobs for about one month. About a week before I change jobs, I announce that I am accepting applications. The students know that they can fill out an application in class as a "May Do" activity if their class work is completed. They are also welcome to take the application home or complete it at recess.
I don't have a whole lot of wall space in my classroom, but I wanted a way to display the students' jobs. Since I love polka dots, I created a bulletin board called, "The Job Spot." I cut the circles and made a little pocket to slide each students' picture.
How are students paid?
When students are hired for a job, they can expect to receive a paycheck from me each once a week.
In addition to earning money for their job, students may also receive money for other reasons such as a prize for a class game, a reward for a clean desk, or as an incentive for having positive behavior. I rarely, however, reward students with money for having good behavior. I want my students to know that it is expected of them to follow the rules, so I only give money as a very special treat. The students simply add whatever amount of money they've earned in their checkbook. If they've received money for something other than a class job, I will tell them how much to put into their checkbook. For example, if a student had an exceptionally clean desk after a random desk check, then I will tell that student to add $5.00 to their checkbook. The student will write the date, how much he/she earned, the reason they earned the money, and they will calculate their total.
In the beginning of the school year, I show my students several times how to use the checkbook and calculate the total. If you have older students, however, you will probably only have to show them one or two times before they have it down.
In addition to earning money, students can also lose money for various reasons. Here are some things that they may have to pay for:
Traffic Violation (running or talking loudly in the line): $15
Bathroom (within 30 minutes after a recess): $5
Janitorial Fees (messy desk area): $15
Overdue library book (from the school library): $10
Extra copy of a paper or assignment: $10
New whiteboard Marker: $5
Desk Rent: $10 per month
The students deduct the money they have spent from the total in their checkbook. Students also receive dollar bills (play money) from the bank, so sometimes they just hand me the cash for the above fees.
Each Friday the students get to visit the bank if they have competed all of their homework for the week. The students withdraw money from their checkbooks and receive cash from the banker. The banker makes note in the checkbook showing how much money was withdrawn. He/she also stamps the word PAID to show that the student has taken money out of the bank.
The cash that I use for the bank is photocopied $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills that I found in a math resource book.
The students keep their cash in this wallet. They can use their cash to buy items at the monthly classroom store. I purchased these "wallets" at the Dollar Store.
The Classroom Store
About once a month, the class can use their money to purchase items at my store. At the beginning of the school year, I ask the parents to donate small toys and school supplies for the store. I also find a ton of fun things at the Dollar Store and Target's Dollar Spot. Homework passes also make popular store items. I unfortunately could not find a picture of my store in action, however, I put my store items in containers with different price tags on the front instead of individually pricing each item. That way the kids know that all the items in the $10 basket are ten dollars, for instance.
Other Fun Things
Sometimes as a special treat, I surprise my kiddos with a gift certificate to the class store. Gift certificates also make excellent class gift ideas when you're on a budget!
And of course, at the end of the month, it's always fun to recognize a hard working student with the honor of receiving "Employee of the Month!" The Employee of the Month always receives a bonus paycheck! I stick their picture in the middle frame and hang it up next to our job bulletin board.
Download for Free
You can download my classroom economy starter kit for free by clicking here. It includes many of the printables you read about in this post along with some others. I would be more than happy to make changes for you to fit your needs. Just email me or leave a comment below! The graphics used for this starter kit are from Ginger Snaps and Fancy Dog Studio. The fonts came from Kevin & Amanda.