Classroom Economy: The Store

One of the hardest parts of setting up my classroom economy was the store.  I kept thinking of all the logistical nightmares that came with running a store AND the real money I was going to have to spend buying knick knacks for it.  It honestly was the major reason I held out so long on actually having an economy in my room.

When I finally gave in and implemented an economy in my room, I thought I would just do the "cost of living" thing.  Kids had to earn money to pay rent, buy their way to the bathroom, etc... At first, that worked.  But then, the economy lost steam.  Kids didn't care if they had money or not.

And why would they?  I work so that I can pay my rent.  But I also work to have money to go to the movies or out to dinner.  That is the incentive for me.  The kids needed the same incentive.  So I created a store that didn't cost me a lot of money, but that would provide the kids with something to actually earn their money for.

I found that the kids would do ANYTHING for free homework passes, sit by a friend passes, or really any passes that I gave them.  The beauty of it is that these passes are free for me!  Here are some for you.

So how do I give them a chance to earn these passes?  Mrs. Moorman's General Store.

Once a week, during payroll, my Merchants set up the store on our little group work table.  I have the passes available, and then there are some odds and ends I have collected as well (ie: left over toys from my daughter's birthday party gift bags, comic books I got from the American Heart Association, pencils or other things that were donated by my students for the store, etc...)  After the students visit the Bankers for their weekly pay, they can visit the store.  The Merchants make sure that the students are honest, and it has been working very well.
teachinginroom6.blogspot.com, education, 5th grade blog

The Merchants also keep a log of what is purchased each week.  Once a month, the Merchants (before their job tenure is complete) go through the log to see what was popular, what needs to be replaced, and what we can do without.

This whole system, once I teach the first set of Merchants how to do it, pretty much runs itself.  I get to work on my Weekly Reports during this time (I do store and payroll on Fridays), and the kids get to have a little fun with their money.

How do you manage the "purchasing" aspect of your classroom economy?

Here are some more posts you may be interested if you are starting an economy in your class.
Setting it all up!
The Jobs

33 comments

  1. I absolutely love this concept (especially since I will be teaching only math next year...I think I'll use it with all three classes!)

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Elizabeth

    Fun in Room 4B

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    1. Once I finally gave in and implemented it, the economy really made my life easier. Managing things like bathroom runs, missing hw, and the like all just came down to an economic choice for the kids! Truly and honestly makes things easier for me.

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  2. Great ideas for your store. Kids also love "Sitting in Teacher's Desk for a day" and "Taking off shoes for 30 mins".

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    1. If you can believe it, one year we were told by someone in charge that the kids couldn't take off their shoes "in case of an earthquake"!

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  3. I also do a store. My students earn money by completing classroom jobs and after they complete them, they must get them checked and their job cards signed. At the end of the week, they get paid for however many days they got their cards signed. They can shop in the store every other Friday. I tried to make it very "real life". I like the idea of adding things to the store like the passes!


    Rachel
    Ms. Rachel’s Room

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  4. Oh I LOVE classroom economy. I used a lot of what you did the first year I was teaching as I had 5th graders. Now I am in 2nd grade, and although I still use it, it looks quite different. This has to be one of my favorite management systems, as well as teaching real world skills. You've done a great job with it!

    Amanda
    Ms. Wilkie's Second Grade Class

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  5. I love this concept and am in the process of figuring out how to implement a modified version for my classroom next year. Thanks for your great ideas!

    Kara
    Spedventures

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  6. I love every one of your posts! I liked doing passes, but I wish my store had run itself. How you are training your students to be independent and responsible is awesome!

    April @ The Idea Backpack
    I have a giveaway that ends today! Winner wins an Amazon gift card. Please check it out.

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    1. Thanks! I just headed over and entered :)

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  7. I really love the idea of classroom economy Steph. I'm looking forward to giving it a shot in the next few years. It just seems like a lot to keep up with for me. I'm not sure I would be able to keep at it all year.

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  8. I have an auction which works pretty well with Billington Bucks. One thing the kids LOVE! is a desk cover and this costs me zero $$ It's pretty butcher paper taped to cover their desk. Kids spend TONS to get this.

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  9. Great Post! I also have a classroom economy but HATE the store end of it all. I buy things that I "think" will be a hit in the store and then only one or two kids buy them. It's always a work in progress. But, THANKS for your ideas. It is definitely getting the ideas running in my head! -Becky:)

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  10. I utilize a mini-economy in my classroom as well. I use it as part of my behavior management system though. Students keep a checkbook and each week have to write our a savings check of 10% whatever they were paid each week. Then they must subtract it from their checkbook. I too have bankers that pay students on Fridays or Mondays, depends on the year! IF students act up in class they are "fined" money and have to pay the "kitty!" If they are doing something well, I reward them monetarily! During the 3rd quarter, students loose 25% of their income due to taxes & insurance! This corresponds nicely with the "Stamp Act". To say the least, they HATE this! My students participate in store once a quarter. They are required to bring things in and sell them to the rest of the school. (I teach in a small school so it is possible for others to come in.) I also invite the parents and make sure they stop by the store. Two years ago I had an extremely small class so with the help of the 6th grade teacher, we incorporated "suppliers". They had to supply goods for my students to purchase. They wrote commercials and then presented them to my class. They were required to get at least one sale. This helped the inventory issue we had! LOVE the system!

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  11. I forgot to mention that at the end of the year, I have an auctioneer come in and talk to the students! The kids get a kick out learning how to bid and when he starts talking quickly, they crack up! Parents donate "goodies" or the PTO helps out!

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  12. Sounds like a great system Beth. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I am so glad I came across your blog. It is my first year teaching and I will be teaching 6th grade. I have really thought about using a classroom economy and this makes me feel a lot more confident in implementing it. Thank you! :-)

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  14. I did an economy in my classroom a couple years ago and had a lot of the same problems that you mentioned. Maybe I'll give it another shot this upcoming year!

    Laura
    Will Grade For Coffee

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  15. I am so glad you posted about this. I just had a twitter conversation tonight about a classroom economy. I'm worried that it will be too challenging and time consuming, but I so want to do it next year. :)

    You always have such great ideas!!

    Shannon

    http://www.irunreadteach.wordpress.com

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  16. I have had a classroom economy for the last 2 years and it works pretty well for me. I have a weekly auction with a limited number of items. It's interesting to see how much they are willing to pay for items. I've had kids spend $100 for freebie that I picked up at a teaching convention. When there is competition, the prices and the desire goes up.

    Hooty's Homeroom

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  17. I loved reading how you run your classroom economy! I love your idea of the passes and fines! You have inspired me to incorporate these in my classroom :) Thank you!

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  18. I really like this. Do you have any ideas for using this in a rotating middle school classroom?
    Thanks,
    Pamela
    First Class Teacher

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  19. 4th Grade TeacherJuly 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Found your site via Google. I love this idea, and it has certainly reduced some of my fears about a classroom economy with my fourth graders. I only wish the passes represented children of color, as I have NO white children in my classroom. Thanks for the spring board!

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  20. I am wondering how exactly you keep up with day to day transactions. For example, if they are on task and awarded a "dollar" for that, do you go around placing dollars on desks? If they are being fined, do you take the money then and there? I understand having bankers for pay day and such, but not sure how to do this throughout the day.

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    1. For fines, I take it then and there. For rewards, I do a few different things. Sometimes, I am walking around with money in my pocket and I give it myself. Sometimes, I ask the bankers to "give table 5 $1 for being on task". Other times I ask the student themselves to go to the bank and take $5.

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    2. I use a checkbook register - the kids add and subtract with decimals and use credits and debits.

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  21. Great post. It is making me rethink my classroom economy, which I modified from Beth Newingham's post on scholastic. This is my 3nd year doing it. I use "credit cards" of credits and debits and pay daily for jobs but weekly for HW, attendance, and behavior. They bank once every 6 weeks to trade their total credits for class money.We have student store the following day. The items in my store are ALL donated by the students and families. Some kids make things like dream catchers or jewelry, families bring in stuff from the dollar store. I always have a TON of stuff. They can buy privileges as well. Parents are my bankers and they run the store but i would love to pass that off to the kids. You've given me some great ideas. Thanks!
    Aubrey
    5th grade

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  22. At what point during the day do you fine a child who misbehaved?

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    1. Right then and there. They simply take out the wallet, place the fine on my desk, and I continue teaching through the whole thing.

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  23. Do you have a letter that you send home to parents at the beginning of the year explaining your system? I am not sure how to write one.

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    1. I do not have a letter, though I do explain it on my class website and in person at Back to School night.

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  24. How much do you "charge" for each pass/prize/ect.???

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    1. It depends upon the time of year, how many people are buying them, etc...The "market value" changes all the time! But generally, I charge $40 for a HW pass (since $40 isn't unattainable but is still quite a chunk of change) and $35 for a bathroom pass. If I notice many kids buying the passes up, that tells me they have a lot of money. I start upcharging for the passes. If no one is buying them, I downcharge. This then lends itself very, very well to a lesson on supply and demand.

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