Jobs, Bonuses, and Class Rules
To start the classroom economy program, you'll need to select:
- A set of student jobs.
- A list of opportunities for bonus money.
- A list of rules that, if broken, will result in a student earning less money.
Your selections can be from the lists we provide or based on the classroom rules you've already developed. You may choose to involve your students in creating the bonus and rule lists, but this is entirely optional. Once the lists are ready, post them in your classroom and refer to them throughout the year. If you wish, you can use materials from this site as posters or items for a bulletin board.
A key component of the classroom economy is for students to hold a job and earn a salary. Many teachers use classroom jobs as a part of their classroom management system. In Grades K and 1, the students will earn $2 per week for completing their jobs.
We suggest rotating the jobs every one to two weeks, but if you prefer, you can elect to have students hold the jobs for the entire year.
You can select jobs from the list below, and you can also create additional jobs to meet the specific needs of your classroom.
Money Distributor and Collector1–2 per class
Passes out dollars as directed by the teacher. Collects rent from each student on the appropriate day.
Line Leader1 per class
Leads the line as students walk through the hallway.
Line Caboose1 per class
Stays at the end of the line as students walk through the hallway. Ensures all students stay in the line in an orderly manner.
Table Cleaner1–2 per class
Cleans tables after lunch.
Floor Cleaner1–2 per class
Removes trash from floors after lunch.
Paper Passer1 per class
Helps the teacher pass out papers.
Attendance Taker1 per class
Helps the teacher take attendance in the morning.
Messenger1 per class
Delivers written and oral messages to other people in the school.
Calendar Aide1 per class
Updates the calendar daily to display the current day and date.
Pencil Sharpener1 per class
Sharpens pencils for other students. Ensures the class is stocked with sharp pencils every morning.
Greeter1 per class
Opens the door for students and adults as they enter the room. Greets visitors with a friendly hello.
Decorator1–2 per class
Helps the teacher with bulletin boards, posters, and other decorations.
- Consider creating jobs to match tasks you normally assign to students. For example, if you typically have a class pet, you might want to hire a Zookeeper to oversee its care.
- Avoid choosing jobs that will be difficult for you to teach or manage. In the classroom economy, the students should be able to perform their jobs without constant supervision. That way, they'll know that they have earned their pay—and they will have lessened the burden on the teacher, which is an additional goal of the program.
In addition to the salaries that students earn from their jobs, they can earn bonus money for good behavior. The bonuses give students more opportunities to succeed in the classroom economy. In addition, they can be useful incentives for your own class goals.
Behaviors you can reward with bonus money include:
Completing all classroom assignments for the week.
Assisting other students with tasks.
Helping the teacher.
Getting a compliment from another teacher.
Following classroom rules, such as lining up quickly, being quiet and in your seat, or raising your hand before speaking.
- With bonus money, it's far better to give away too much rather than too little. At this age, the goal of the classroom economy is to focus on positive behavior.
- A great way to encourage students to follow your rules is to "catch" one student in the act of being good and give him or her a $1 bonus.
- You can reward the entire class with a $1 bonus when they demonstrate exceptional behavior.
The classroom economy can help you enforce your classroom rules. While students earn $2 per week for completing their classroom jobs, those who break a class rule that week will only earn $1. If a student breaks two or more rules in a week, he or she will earn $0.
A key concept of the classroom economy is to focus on the positive aspects of earning and saving money. We encourage you to create a short and direct rules list, which matches your classroom priorities.
It is far more effective to catch students being good and reward them with bonus money than to focus on punishing students.
Here is a sample of classroom rules:
Be polite to your teacher and fellow classmates
Keep your table and cubby clean
Follow the directions you are provided.
- Keep a clipboard with a list of students' names so that you can keep track of anyone who breaks a rule and deduct his or her pay on Payday. You will also want to remind the student of what he or she did to earn the penalty.