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    economics
    By JH

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    We created enough classroom jobs so everyone can have at least ONE job. For ease of payment all jobs have a salary of $10 per week. Our jobs are things like payroll clerk, banker, insurance agent, rent executive, janitor, teacher's helper, messenger, botanist, zoologist, etc. If we have a larger class, we might have two or more of a position. You especially need several bankers and payroll clerks so you don't get bogged down with that.
    At the beginning of the year we run off TONS of money--$1, $5, %10, and $20 and laminate it. The kids have fun cutting it all out. I store each denomination of bills in a ziploc bag and all bags in a plastic box. The only people that have access to it are the payroll clerks, bankers, and attendance clerks. Each student fills out a job application the first week of school. They are ordered by neatest. I allow each child to select three job choices and usually they get one of the three choices. However, they no up front that if they turn in something sloppy they get last consideration and may have to take leftover jobs.
    I usually have Rent Day on Monday, Insurance Day on Tuesday, Payroll on Thursday, and banking on Friday. They have to bank at least $10 a week. Most have much more than that. They earn $3 a day for attending school. We also reward money for good behavior---for example, the first one with book out and open ready to go might earn $1. If someone is being very quiet, when the rest are rowdy--$10. This also works in reverse--poor behavior--pay money. The fine has to fit the crime. Our specials teachers even do this. They have found that it helps a lot in discipline. You could also pay them for 100% papers and collect for late papers. The ideas are endless and have to be made applicable to your class.
    Each banker has a folder with his clients' names and a journal sheet with deposit, withdrawal, balance, and the date on it. He banks for them weekly. He does give 10% interest each bank day on their balance. Money may ONLY be taken out with teacher's permission. I only allow it if he/she has a fine to me or another teacher that cannot be paid out of pocket.
    Each insurance and rent agent have folders with their clients' names and a grid to check off when paid. We charge $1 for each if paid before the beginning of class. It raises to $2 after the first hour class begins. There are no reminders after the first couple of weeks.
    Payroll clerks also have a folder with a grid for checking off when they have paid their clients. I do have a payroll form that has to be filled out weekly to be sure each is completing his/her job. It has their name, job, dates they completed their job (some have daily jobs and some have one day a week jobs), their salary, and their payroll person's name on it. This must be filled out prior to the time the payroll clerk comes to pay or they are docked salary.
    This all sounds complicated, but it really runs very smoothly once they get used to it. The kids absolutely LOVE it! Now we hear all the fourth graders asking if they are going to get money too.. They carry it around in wallets like it was real. It's funny to watch. I think you see a lot of characteristics come out that will follow them through life. The best thing they love is on Fridays we have mini auctions. They can spend their cash on hand for these. I have things like pencils, sticky pads, stencils, posters, anything I pick up cheaply here and there. Some NEVER spend their money and others spend all they have every week except their $10 for banking. I also have disasters and lottery on Fridays at this same time after the auction. Disasters they have to pay---I say things like "Last night it rained and your math homework was totally smudged, you have to pay $10" They LOVE it! My computer will randomly select student's names so they never know who will come up. For the lottery, I use fine money I have collected for the week and sometimes they money that I have collected for the auctions. I have the name selected on the computer and then I have all the students stand up. I give clues to who it is by process of elimination we narrow it down to THE one. Clues like this person has blonde hair. All others sit down. This person has 2 sisters. etc. Our students really do love the economics money. We change colors of money each year. You would have to modify the program to fit your needs. Like I said before, it takes some prep time and it is always slow going in the beginning until it becomes routine. We love it and have used it for about 7 years now. Any other questions let me know.


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