Not Classroom Economy

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the months about the practicality of implementing a successful classroom economy system, especially within my first few years of teaching. I think that the smarter decision would be to simplify greatly until I’m ready to take on more.

Here are some of my current ideas to reward behavior, citizenship, and schoolwork.

First, produce tickets that reward three different skills/behaviors:

1. grades (scholar dollars)
2. behavior and classroom chores (citizen dollar)
3. reading (reading dollar; given as kids finish books)

The teacher gives the tickets to students as the behaviors happen. There might also be a kiddo or two that are the teachers’ helpers who spot good behavior and students who are helping around the classroom. These kids can be compensated with extra citizen dollars.

Each ticket can be filled out by the student and put into a raffle.

At the end of each week, the teacher will draw two winners from each of the sections. One winner will be chosen randomly. The other winner will be pre-chosen and will be the teacher’s choice.

The prizes might be small school supplies trinkets.

At the end of each month, super prizes are given out in each category to reward students who worked exceptionally hard. These prizes might include fancy school supplies such as a nice pen or notebook, and books for the reading winners.

Every few months there may be an all or nothing challenge in one of the categories in which ALL students must have at least one ticket in the raffle or nobody gets anything. The prize for having everybody in the raffle might be an educational movie period, educational art project, the teacher dresses up in something funny, or something else educational and fun that rewards the whole class.

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A Bullying Video

Here is a link to a video called “To This Day” that a man made about being bullied and others who were bullied too. If the link doesn’t work, google something like “Shane Koyczan bullying.”It’s 7 minutes long, not counting the credits.

It’s beautiful and powerful. I can imaging showing it to my class, whether or not I’m aware of any bullying problem. The video can hit home for kids who are bullied and those who do the bullying. I don’t remember having any lessons or assemblies about being bullied when I was in school, but something as powerful as this video could have helped a lot of kids.

I suppose the video could be tied into a unit with a book where a character is bullied, and then students could discuss. Not that the video couldn’t be its own lesson. I’m just thinking “standards standards standards.” Maybe it would work well to show the video on one of the days during the first week of class to set the tone about how we treat each other and how what we say and do has lasting impacts on everyone. (<– that’s me thinking aloud.)

The only issue I see is that it’s fast-paced and students who doesn’t speak English as a first language or students who just need some extra time to internalize what’s being heard and seen might struggle. Like I said, it’s only 7 minutes, and students might watch the video several times. The words are from a poem, and the words can be found online without much trouble, so it might help students to have the words in front of them. Hearing the passion in his voice is so, so, powerful; therefore, I don’t recommend using the words alone without having seen the video.

Oh, and Shane Koyczan has a blog for his poetry: http://koyczanpoetry.tumblr.com/