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Classroom Economy

Compiled By: julie_ann_

Ideas for Classroom Economy

classroom money
Posted by: NC5th

I designed my own money template that goes along with the theme in my classroom. I use frogs and ponds as my theme, because I made FROGS binders (Fully Responsible, Organized and Growing Students). I call them Pond Bucks and they have denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20. I'm using the "money" so I can use the economy to teach the economics strand of my state standards and also to incorporate daily math skills, such as making change, multiplying, adding, subtracting, etc.

As far as how often to let them buy things, I was going to give them their "salaries" once a week. We would discuss the salaries when I introduce the classroom economy. We would discuss which jobs were more difficult, which ones took the most skill, etc. and the class would determine a fair salary.

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Credit Card
Posted by: luvnjesus

I gave each student a colored index card and had them decorate it and label it "Credit Card". Each student had a library pocket (one of the cutesy ones) attached to their desk with clear contact paper. This is where they were to keep their "credit card" so that I could walk over to their desk at anytime and give them a "credit" without them having to find their card in their desk. I got some of the decorative hole punchers (like those used for scrapbooking) and punched their card for appropriate behavior, doing their job, etc. On Fridays, I would get the prize boxes down. I had a 10, 15, and 20 box. The students would choose how many "credits" (aka punches) they wanted to turn in and "buy" a prize. I would just snip off the right number of punches. No change required...Very easy!

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Posted by: Sam5

I've never attached a file here, but I will try. This is the information I give the parents and students. I am changing the name to Moose money this year to fit my classroom theme

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Token Economy
Posted by: j

A Token Economy is part of a classroom discipline plan where children earn points, rewards, etc. for fulfilling classroom expectations. Our school uses its own money system of Behavior Bucks and raffle tickets. Students earn "money" for following a rule, completing a task, etc. (how much is determined by a committee or teacher). They lose money for poor behavior, not doing hw, etc. At the end of each month, items can be purchased at our school store with the remaining money students have left for the month. Items range from school supplies to homework passes to dollar store toys, snacks, etc.

Something I found that may be helpful...
Posted by: NC5th

Your post really got me thinking! After replying earlier, I looked online for more information about classroom economies. I found fake money that looks like real money and can be printed off and copied for classroom use. The website for that is

I also found this website

This one is from the National Council on Economic Education. There is a book on this one that has a bunch of lesson plans, templates, ideas, etc. that are appropriate for elementary school. It also has a sample that you can look at. It looks really interesting, and I think I'm going to purchase the book. Hope this helps!

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I use coins
Posted by: Steph

Hi! I do use coins in my classroom economy. Second graders really need the practice with changing coins, counting money, and equivalent amounts! Students get paid 4 cents per day and they must always have the least number of coins possible in their containers. This way, we're trading pennies for nickels after the second or third day. I pay them based on behavior, homework completion, kindness, jobs, etc. A penny here or there adds up. They also have to pay me if behavior, homework, etc. is not monitored. Every other week I open a classroom store and they can shop.

I make them count their money before they come up and know how much they have to spend. Also they need to know if they will get change back and we practice counting how much. Once I've into'd rounding we work that in too.

Hope that gives you an idea. It takes a lot of time, but it's good skill work.


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classroom economy
Posted by: Pirate_Andi

I teach 4th grade. I pay my students $1 for everyday they come to school. $5 for A on test, $4 for B on test, $3 for C on test, $1 for passing with a D. I do random desk checks for neatness for $5. Anything you really want to pay them for. I have to tell you, parents loved the $ for test scores. Parents told me their child was studying more at home and asking for them to quiz them for tests. They were appreciative that their child was motivated to STUDY!!

I keep a behavior chart made from library card holders with student's name on them glued on a poster board. In each student's card holder I have $1 bill warnig), $5 bill ( note home in agenda), $10 bill (call home to parent), and a $20 bill (disciplinary form to principal). For each unwanted behavior I move the bill in front to the back.

On Friday, I collect $1 for each unwanted behavior as a fine. I explain it like this; if you speed you get a ticket and FINE. If you pay your bills late you must also pay a fine as late charges. I try to connect the "fine thing" to real world situations.

Students save their money in small manilla envelopes inside a math folder they keep in my room. At the end of the 9 weeks, we have a fun day and charge different amounts for each activity and snacks and things of that sort. If you have lots of $$ then you get to do lots more things than those who don't.

Also, if someone comes to my class without pencil or paper, they must use their money to buy one from me. I keep pencils and paper on hand all the time. $3 for paper, $5 for a pencil. I keep the prices steep and my students almost always have pencil and paper with them.

I have used a store before but that got too expensive and kids did'nt like what was in the store.

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Token economy
Posted by: Tammy

I have created "Behavior Bucks" that my students earn for completing all homework, not getting in trouble, etc. At the end of each month I open up my classroom store and the students can purchase rewards using their bucks. It has worked great for me. The students compete to see who earns the most bucks over the course of the year. Sometimes I let them earn class rewards. If everyone reaches a certain number of bucks they can, as a class, purchase a movie and popcorn party. I've used this system for 2 years now and have noticed a dramatic change in behavior. They are eager to earn their bucks. You do have to make sure you have things in the store that will interest them. Also, just to warn you, all of the things in my store have been purchase with my own money. It's worth it!!

Token economy
Posted by: mab

I just took a class last week where the teacher used this in her classroom. She teaches junior high and high school SS, economics, and geography. This is how she does it:

1 ticket= A on a homework assignment, extra credit, etc.

2 tickets= A on a quiz, Student of the week, good responses in class, etc.

3 tickets= A on a test, extra project done(like map making), etc.

Then she had a time before class and after class where you could purchase stuff. She had a set list for how many tokens it would take:

notebook paper, pencil, pen, = 1 ticket
gel pen, Tootsie Pop= 2 tickets
candy bar, free assignment, =5 tickets
deliver a flower or plant to someone = 50 tickets
supper with her= 50 tickets

There were lots more prizes, but this is all I can remember right now. :)

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Posted by: Tina

I have used a token economy as part of my classroom management policy for over 8 years now, and I have always found it to be very effective. I've printed up tokens of different denominations on my computer and laminated them.
I teach 5th grade, and it is the perfect age for the system. I pay students for their classroom jobs, and for many other things (for example I have super student charts that, when full, may be traded in for tokens). I also use my own version of assertive discipline, and students with their name on the board get some reward, which is often tokens or free time. Tokens are also used for "negative discipline"...violations of dress code (we have one where I teach), breaking of "lesser" rules, repeat offenses of a behavior that has been "corrected", as well as many other things may result in a fine of a set number of tokens.
Tokens may be used at classroom "auctions". I prefer auctions to more formal "stores" because they are great time fillers, and also really motivate the students. At the end of the year all unused tokens are used to buy raffle tickets for a huge "end of the year" raffle. Auction and raffle items may be donated (if you have willing parents), or bought from dollar stores or bulk party stores.
All of this may sound time consuming or expensive, but it really doesn't have to is such a part of the routine, I find it is actually time saving and very effective. Hope this helps.

Business Day
Posted by: MissTrace

We have a classroom economy, and while I do have a class store I don't open it very often. I also don't do a lot of paperwork for it. My kids each have a "wallet" made from a plain envelope. They decorate it and put their name on it to keep their money in. Once a month or so I let them deposit classroom money into the bank.

Every month or two my grade level holds a business day. The kids bring in a list signed by parents of what they plan to sell prior to business day. They must also purchase a business license for $10 prior to that day. This keeps the kids who owe money from making money on business day. On business day my kids withdraw their money from the bank, create signs for their business listing what they will sell and their prices, and set up to sell at their desks. Then, we let the third graders loose for about 45 minutes to buy and sell. If a student leaves their "store" they must close until they return. The kids love this, it's free for the teachers, the kids make money, and the parents like cleaning out rooms and selling off old toys, books, etc.

We also occasionally do a movie day and sell tickets for a Friday movie. Students who attend the movie also have the opportunity to buy snacks. I purchase bags of popcorn and cotton candy at Smart and Final - there's usually plenty and I don't spend too much.

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Why use tokens at all?
Posted by: gina

I have a great classroom economy going, and it doesn't require ANY physical tokens. All payments are made into their bankbooks, and withdrawals, likewise. Go to a friendly neighborhood bank and ask for cheque registers. There are places for students to write the date, the reason (eg. finished all work today - for a deposit, or talked too much - for a withdrawal). There are appropriate places to list the deposits and withdrawals, and, of course, a place for the current balance. About once a month, I set up the Store and students buy things using withdrawals from the cheque book. No tokens needed. I love the system, and so do my classes. I used it with grade 4s last year and am using it with grade 5s this year. If needed, let the students use a calculator - they love it, and it is easy practice for them.
I really encourage you to try this system. Even with grade 3s, if you keep the amounts easy ( multiples of dollars $1, $2, $3...$10 rather than dollar amounts with coins $1.25) they will come to love it. As for how much to pay them, if you worry about them getting too far ahead and making it difficult to supply items for the store that don't cost a fortune, set your store amounts high. For example, a simple shiny pencil that I can buy at the dollar store for (10/$1) costs the students $25 to $75 depending on how fancy it is. They still buy them, no matter what price you will set.

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I used it for whole class
Posted by: MrsPsop

I used Am for my whole class when I taught 5th grade. (My new school doesn't have it:( )

Here's what I did. Every day the students were given an assignment. They had to turn in their cards before the end of the day, or it was their ticket to a lunch, p.e., etc, if they didn't have it done they stayed to finish.

Someone created a really cool chart for the kids to turn their cards in, so just by looking at it, I could see who turned theirs in and who didn't.

After the program was going for a while, If students turned in wrong card, or forgot to put form number on, I charged them a classroom buck. (I used a token economy) Also, if students LOST their assignments and needed a re-print they had to pay Two bucks, lost cards were One buck.

For motivation, When I graded I kept a simple graph to chart how many objectives each student has mastered for the quarter. This got a bit of a competition going. I created awards and had a "ceremony" for the first, second, and third place winners each quarters.

When students reached an EXERCISE the assignment had to be done with me or a student tutor (a student who already mastered that objective) I would write WORK WITH ME or the name of the student tutor on the assignment.

I hope I explained this well enough.

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Bathroom Breaks
Posted by: stephanie

I am one of those teachers that has a classroom economy and use it for bathroom breaks. We also have had numerous problems in our bathrooms and we are not allowed to send more than 1 girl and 1 boy for a break at a time unless we are going as a class. We take 3 bathroom breaks a day as a class and the students are allowed to go to the bathroom before the first bell rings as the bathrooms are monitored in the AM. If they need to go to the bathroom at other times, they may pay $1 and go - they do not need to ask - just go. They get plenty of $ to be able to go pretty much as often as they need to. I also tell them that if they are having an issue where they need to go a lot, they can talk to me and we will forgo their payments for that day. I have not had any complaints from parents or administrators about the way that I handle bathroom breaks, and have only had 1 student in 3 years that consistently ran out of $ - I let him go anyway.

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here's what worked for me...
Posted by: 4th grade teacher

While I am teaching 4th grade, this is what worked for me. I have a token economy system in which the students earn classroom money. I noticed that many of my students were going to the bathroom a LARGE amount of times and that it was contagious. I started taking classroom breaks in the morning and afternoon and if they need to go at a time beyond that, they have to pay me some classroom money. This stopped the problem RIGHT away.

Perhaps for you, with 7-8 grades, you could offer them the chance to earn "Bonus Bucks" by asking a trivia question about the day's work at the end of class. These could be worth extra credit points on any assignment or test. Give them one or two passes for a designated amount of time. If they need to go beyond that, they would have to pay a bonus buck to go to the restroom.

Magic number
Posted by: Jade

I pick a "magic number" each day and tell them that each person is responsible for doing that many things to make the room look presentable. That includes picking things up off the floor, putting things away, etc. I'm not naive enough to think that every child does it every day, but even if you say to do 10 things and only 20 kids do it, 200 things have been "fixed". On a particularly bad day I've even given 100 as the magic number! I've also made it a game by setting the timer for five minutes and seeing who can do the most things OR can we pick up 100 things in that time. No matter whether they are accurate in their reporting or not, things get done.

On the flip side, I currently have a classroom economy, a point system, and failure to put up chairs, empty mailboxes, pick things up off the coatroom floor, etc. results in "fines". And I award bonus points randomly for kids who HAVE done their part with chairs & mailboxes, etc.

Not a perfect system and there are days when the custodian just shakes his head, but it has gotten better!

Economy System
Posted by: Sam5

My parents love my classroom money system. It is the number one thing parents positively remark about when I have them fill in end of the year evaluations. My students earn a salary each week. They are fined for things like not doing homework, not being prepared for class, poor behavior etc... I have a clipboard I keep track of the fines on. At the end of the week I pay them their salary minus their fines. A student must earn 140 out 200 dollars to attend Fun Friday. I give out bonus money during the week for things like winning a game, getting an A on a paper, doing something extra nice or extra special. At the beginning of the year I give a lot of bonus money as I work at creating my classroom environment. As the year goes on, I let up because the kids start automatically doing the positive behaviors. Students pay bills once a month. I have a small weekly auction(3-5 little things like pencils or stickers). I have a big auction once a quarter. People donate things to me for my auctions- family, friends, students, parents, even former students' parents. I find things in my house, purchase things at garage sales and after holiday sales. I try to purchase one larger item per quarter. Basketballs and footballs are always popular no matter what quality.

My system has been highly sucessful. My students are rarely in the office because of any classroom problems. The other fifth grade teachers plan to adopt my system next year because of the few problems I seem to have compared to them.

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No title
Posted by: BirdSong

I do think you can teach them to use it like a bank account. That's a valuable skill.

Things to sell:
homework passes
sitting with a friend
being line leader
buying a class job
sitting at the teacher's desk during a lesson
extended recess (staying out with another class if you stagger)

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Token Economy
Posted by: Libby

Last year was the first time I used this type of system with my 5th graders, we loved it! The way I used it required a lot of start up work, but after that it runs quite smoothly. First of all I made up a list of classroom jobs, enough for each student to have at least one job. Then the jobs were posted as Mrs. _____'s classified ads. The kids filled out applications, that were made to be like a real job application, with strengths, references, and so on. Then I notified them that they were to come in, (usually at lunch or other "free" times) for an interview. They are instructed to dress up a bit, and be polite and business like. It's so cute, they get so nervous. Then they are notified about which job they are getting. They are then asked to read and sign a contract, which includes a $10.00 signing bonus.

They are paid every other week. Usually each job pays, $5.00 or $10.00 per week. I have payroll people (students) who write out the paychecks, with taxes deducted,(10% to keep it simple) The following day we do our banking. I go to a local bank and get check book covers, and account registers. Each child gets one, they feel so grown up. I copy real bank deposit slips, and the kids fill them out. This takes some time and weekly reinforcement, but once they understand how to do it they are responsible for getting the deposit slip correct. If the banker finds an error, the students bank account is charged a $5.00 fee. I have one or two parents help out on banking day. We also have a cash system. I made up "Starbucks" in the amounts of $1.00. $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00. The kids can earn money for things such a good test or quiz scores, exceptional behavior, caught being good, asking a really good question, etc and they each get $20.00 on their birthday. They can also loose money for things like forgetting homework, needing to go out to their locker, or to their book bag, excessive talking, being out of their seat at inappropriate times, and so on.
Throughout the year the parents are asked to send in anything that they think the kids would like, and we have an auction at the end of each semester. (twice a year) Most of the stuff is new, and some is just stuff that their kids don't play with or use any more. These things don't have to be expensive, just things that kids would like. Some of my most popular and highest auction items came from the dollar store. Grab bags with pop, candy, and chip type things are really popular too. I hope I haven't rambled on too much and if any of this doesn't make sense, please feel free to write back with any questions you might have. I think it is a wonderfully worthwhile endeavor, the kids love it and are learning some real life skills in the process.

Posted by: luvnjesus

I don't have a letter requesting items. It is on our supply list at the beginning of the year. This is my first year doing an actual "economy". I have done several "watered down" versions in the past. Here is the introductory letter. I am far from finished with it so I guess this is a sneak preview.;) It is a lot of work getting this stuff together, huh? Good thing we started in advance!:p

Let me know if you want copies of anything else I have so far (money, coupons, etc.). I would love to hear your ideas!


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