My students need fun toys for incentives from working hard doing their jobs!
In my 5th grade Math classroom, I teach about economics through my classroom economy. Money is not often taught to fruition in the math curriculums in Maine and I feel it is a pertinent skill to learn. Many students at Paris Elementary come from a low socio-economic background and it is my job to teach them how to be smart and safe with their money. The store allows them to purchase rewards using the classroom money they earn each month.
The students complete applications for monthly classroom jobs. Many of them apply to jobs in which they feel they may want when they grow up. They earn payment, (Class dollars) for these jobs each time their task is completed. At the end of the month, they receive a check for their earnings. The students can calculate the earnings per task with the number of times they completed the task to assure that they are being paid proper wages. The students then deposit their checks into the "bank". Here they learn the skill of spendings, saving, budgeting, and checkbook balancing. Some students apply to be the bakers, so they learn to cash checks and count the money their “customer” is requesting. Students are then allowed to visit our class store. In the store, there are school supplies, toys, crafts, and other all things students are motivated to work hard to buy. Students are also allowed to apply for the cashier jobs. Classmates will go shopping and cash out with the store cashiers. Those student cashiers are given money and need to give their peers change. They also feel the pressure of anxious and pushy customers. I’ve heard on several occasions, “Is that how it feels to be a cashier at a grocery store or mall? Man that’s tough”. Some months there are sales, the employee of the month gets a 10% discount. These skills are rarely taught in school but are necessary skills to learn. By the end of the school year, the students have skills to write checks, shop, and budget. I enjoy teaching students about money matters through my class economy and believe they come away with a better understanding of finances.
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