August 10, 2005
Our third-grade classes have been using one of the best incentives I have ever seen. Play money is given for various things, such as completed homework, perfect class attendance, bringing back parent-signed papers, etc. (Students keep their money in banks donated by area banking institutions.) Students are also occasionally “charged” with a fee for breaking a class rule. Every month, we have Banking Day when students count their money (math money skills!), return the play coins to me, and enter the amount into a real check register.
The students can visit Bell’s Store, where they can spend their money. To stock my store, I get yard sale items from my family or students’ families, dollar items I see when shopping, or other items that would be tossed by others when cleaning. Absolutely anything will work. I price my store items accordingly and when students buy things, they must adjust their check registers to reflect what they’ve spent and what they have left.
This activity does many things: reinforces positive behaviors, reinforces money skills, recycles good usable items, etc. I also like to see how many items students will buy for others in their family instead of just for themselves!