I was recently talking to a third grade teacher who introduced a classroom economy to start the new year. She talked about the excitement of students as they invested in the idea.
It reminded me of the classroom economy that I previously used in 5th grade. Students had the opportunity to earn a paycheck for performing classroom jobs and duties, and payed rent on their “classroom space,” eventually having the ability to purchase their space outright.
It started as a simple system in which students learned some basic financial fundamentals, and evolved into a complex system as students introduced new wrinkles and ideas, such as students purchasing other people’s “space” and renting it to them as they earned additional bonus money. As technology evolved, most of the system went digital as the student bank manager documented credits and debits, and assisted classmates in managing their own finances.
What I loved about the system was that it was all student managed, ran mostly in the background of academic studies, but also taught students valuable life lessons about financial independence. And most importantly, students bought in and loved it!
I’m excited to see how the system works out in the third grade classroom, especially based on the early enthusiasm of the teacher and students.
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