On the first day of the program, you explain the rules and expectations of the classroom economy as you would with any classroom management system.
- Create student folders to be handed out at the start of class. (Items to include are listed in Preparing Materials.)
- Customize the visual displays of your jobs, bonuses, and fines lists (handouts, posters, bulletin-board items, etc.).
1 class period
Welcome the students and inform them that they'll be earning and spending money throughout the year. Pass out the student folders you created.
Use your visual displays as you explain these key concepts:
- Money is earned in two or three ways:
- As a salary for completing a classroom job.
- In bonus rewards for good achievements.
- By creating your own business (optional for each student).
- Money is spent in four ways:
- Paying the monthly rent for the student's desk. The rent is $1,000 per month (but desks can be purchased for a one-time payment of $3,000).
- Paying an electricity bill of $150 a month (which can be reduced through the help of the Electrician).
- Buying items or privileges at auctions, which are held approximately monthly.
- Paying fines for not following classroom rules.
- Tell students to sign the rental agreement that they'll find in their student folders, symbolizing their entry into the program. Collect the signed forms, sign them yourself when you have time, and return them to the students to hold in their folders as a binding contract.
- Display the class job list and tell the students they need to apply for a job. Explain that they may not receive their first choice, so they need to list their top three selections on the job application.
- Describe the individual jobs. Then give the students time to fill out the application. Remind them that some jobs require a letter of recommendation. Explain how they can ask for such a letter from a previous year's teacher.
- Collect the job applications from all students. Set a deadline for receiving recommendations.
- Explain to students that they can earn additional money by establishing their own business. They can sell goods or services and be paid in classroom dollars. Examples could include cleaning the desks of other students, coaching in a specialty such as a musical instrument, or making and selling craft items such as origami. To establish a business, a student must complete a business license application and submit it to the teacher. Before granting approval, the teacher should define expectations, including conformance with school standards, and discuss realistic pricing and the handling of money earned. Note: Students can submit their business license application on Job Assignment and Training Day or anytime thereafter.
If you like to include your students in creating class rules and policies, feel free to let them suggest additional bonus opportunities, fines, and auction items.