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.
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!