How to Start a Classroom Economy

The thought of starting up a classroom economy can be daunting, to say the least. I mean where would you even start? Do you need to make fake money? Then you get lost in thought thinking about how if you launch a classroom economy you would have more fake money in your classroom then you do in your real life purse. Teacher life 101. Then you get to thinking, if I have no money how could I afford to put fun prizes in my classroom shop? The teacher struggles are just so real. If you want a simple, fuss-free way to start up a class economy that will not cost you the earth then look no further. 



The Why 

First up, you will need to decide why you want to start a classroom economy. What do you want your students to learn from participating in it? What values do you want to be at the center of your economic system? Are you passionate about teaching your students the value of saving? Or are you more interested in getting their behavior on track first? 

The What 

Once you know why you want to start your economy, you will need to decide what jobs you want your students to do. This works best on a class by class basis. If you have a really reserved student, then you may have a job such as pet minder, or librarian in mind for them. Of course, it will be up to you whether you get your students to apply for their job or if you want to take the reigns and assign them jobs initially. Thinking of all the jobs, you want your students to do can be hard. Here is a list of all the jobs I have come across in the past: 


  • arts materials coordinator 
  • attendance monitor 
  • whiteboard eraser 
  • end of line monitor 
  • calendar monitor 
  • cleanup monitor 
  • computer whiz
  • door monitor 
  • recycling monitor 
  • first aid helper 
  • homework monitor 
  • learning display monitor 
  • trash monitor 
  • the official librarian 
  • line leader 
  • lunch monitor 
  • messenger 
  • table wiper 
  • technician 
  • paper monitor 
  • sink monitor 
  • substitute 
  • water bottle monitor 
  • weather reporter 
  • teachers assistant 
  • desk detective 
  • math materials coordinator 
  • travel agent 
  • trustworthy cashier 
  • money wise economist 
  • pencil monitor 
  • bathroom monitor 
  • chair stacker 
  • clean sweeper 
  • pledge leader  
  • plant monitor 
  • journal helper 
  • mat helper 
  • snack helper 
  • letter vest helper 
  • hand sanitizer manager 
  • pet minder 


The When 

Advertise your heart away! Make up a 'jobs available' sign and get those applicants rolling in. Leave a pile of applications on a table next to your display of all your classroom jobs. The best and most fun way to introduce a classroom economy system is to surprise your students. Don't say a word and then prepare the classroom before your next school day. Put up all the job adverts, and related posters and let the children figure out what is going on for themselves! Dramatic play is best served with a side of exploration. 

The Who 

When all of the jobs you want to have have been sorted, you will need to then assign them. This could be done as randomly as getting all the applications for the same job and drawing a name out of a hat, or it could be done as strategically as matching the best fit applicant to each job. The later is the best one if your students are older and you want them to have an experience that is as close to real life as possible. 

The How 

So the jobs are created and assigned... now, how do you implement your economic system? Set up and print out some fake money to use in your class. Then, create and print bank transaction forms. Set up an area of your classroom for the class shop, which you can fill with reward coupons if you are on a tight budget. Put up a sign that states the opening hours of the classroom store to make it all that much more real. And you are ready to go. 

Let me know how your classroom economy goes in the comments below. Enjoy! 



Six Reasons Why You Need Me Time This School Holidays

The sun is setting on another hectic school year. Your desk is a mess, your brain is fried, and your heart is full. The moment the term ends is the second your mind starts ticking on what you could do for the next school year. As much as you want to dive into planning for 2017-2018, you know that you need to just take five and have some me time. But after such a long school year where would you even start? 

While you were all systems-a-go, you may have counted things like brushing your teeth, cleaning the toilet, and feeding the cat as cherished me time. Well, move over Whiskers, because mama is going to have some real me time now. Here are six ways you can catch your breath this summer and connect with your inner self. 

1) Look at the clouds 

When was the last time you dropped everything and inhaled through your eyes the beauty this precious earth has on offer? With the weather heating up, spend some time outdoors with your face to the sky. Unlock that creative mind and let your thoughts naturally drift in tune with the clouds soft movements. 

2) Read a real life tangible book 

Do they even make these anymore? As enjoyable as reading on your phone seems to be, technology is extremely addicting. Getting back to the literature basics will not only prove to relax you more than being on a device, but it will also inspire you to read for longer while taking deeper breaths. 

3) Connect with your own inner child 

You spend the majority of your time minding young souls and all the fun that comes with being a child, but when did you last have a word with your own inner child? Ask your mini-me what they want to do this break. Do some baking that is more pre-school chaos than fine dining? Write poetry that is about everything and anything fictional? Make a fort that will protect you and your loved ones from a zombie apocalypse? 

4) Host a themed party 

Throw off that teacher hat for one full night with a fun themed party with your friends. Bring on the tequila and laughs! You could go with anything from beach theme to dress as the letter M! 

5) Spend time in nature 

It has been proven that we cannot feel anxious while spending time in nature. How amazing is that?! Shrug off all that negative energy that has collected over the past year with a stroll through nature. 


6) Create school free memories 

As fun as our jobs can be, it is vital that we have a well-rounded life. Creating memories outside of our familiar four walls at school is an essential part of allowing ourselves to be multi-level beings. Say yes to doing things that make your heart yearn these school holidays. Create a chill spot outdoors for me time? Check! Go out to the movies to watch something not made for kids? Check! Be called by your first name for several weeks on end? Check! 
Enjoy! 

5 Ways To Celebrate The End Of The School Year


The sun is rising earlier and earlier. The students' attention is less focused. Their energy; more scattershot. The end of the school year is fast approaching. After slogging through second semester, no teacher wants to plan a comprehensive lesson on the value of Memorial Day. So, forget it! Instead, try these 5 novel ways to celebrate the end of the year.

1. Have Class Outside

Students' gazes are slowly drifting from the board to the window, filling the world on the other side with imagined Summer adventures. Give it to them! Venture from the confines of the classroom this week, arrange your students in a circle on a grassy lawn, and encourage freer discussion than what would usually fill your classroom.


 2. Swap Classes

Short of going outdoors, swapping classes with a fellow teacher will allow students the adventure they so desire, but still within the structure of school. For best results, classes should not be given any advanced warning, but instead surprised with a field trip down the hall.


3. Let the Students Teach

In another effort to satisfy a late-Spring class's desire to break the mold, plan an activity wherein students research a subject, themselves, and then lead a lesson. Research has shown that instructing on subjects results in higher retention, so it's as pedagogically sound as it is radical.


4. Creative Projects

As was mentioned before, students are longing to live out their Summer lives at this point in the year. Entertain that desire by encouraging them to write stories or dramas about the vacation. Where do they intend to go? What do they intend to accomplish? Will they continue practicing their multiplication tables? (No)


5. Party!

It's an obvious one, but few teachers are willing to spring a party on students for fear that it might create conflict with other classrooms that are hard at work. Who cares! It's the end of the year. The administration isn't going to lock it down. The teachers in the lounge aren't going to be there around for a few months to shoot judgmental looks. Freedom, at last!


Teach Cultural Sensitivity By Celebrating Ramadan

Across the United States, students are largely unaware of Ramadan. It's often lumped in with KwanzaaChinese New Year, and Diwali -- all important holidays in their own rights, but victims of othering by American culture.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. In Muslim tradition, it commemorates the first revelation of Quran to the prophet Muhammad, his first visit from the Archangel Gabriel. Muslims around the world observe the festival month by fasting from dawn until sunset. Many mosques will host feasts at sunset everyday of the month.

In the Gregorian calendar, Ramada falls between May 26th and June 25th.

It's no debate that Islam is a hot-button issue in contemporary America. Consider this Ramadan an opportunity to teach students about the rich cultural tradition Islam offers. It will, after all, be the largest world religion by 2070, according to the Pew Research Centre.

If your classroom includes Muslim students, allow them to discuss with the class what Ramadan means to them. Giving them space to safely express their religious beliefs will encourage self-assurance as well as respect from their peers.

Also invite them to share their culture past a purely religious context, perhaps throwing a party with traditional food and dance. Islam spans many countries and continents, so investigate your student's specific origin before diving in. In Iraq, for example, date-nut pastries are all the rage. All throughout different cultures, though, you will find halal food, or food that is prepared according to Muslim law. The keys to incorporating Islam tradition into your classroom are sensitivity and curiosity. Instill those same values in your class and you all enjoy a profound cultural learning experience.


Salaam-Alaikum, brothers and sisters. (Now you say “alaikum-salaam”).

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Classroom Ideas For Teaching International Customs This Mother's Day

Our mothers (and mother figures) do so much for us. They drag us out of bed in morning for school, they provide us with a shoulder to cry on, they encourage us to grow into the best versions of ourselves possible; all while juggling day-to-day life. The least we can do is take one arbitrary day out of the year to make paper mobiles and homemade greeting cards for them at school, right?



What many don't know is that Mother's Day is not strictly an American holiday, nor is it celebrated the same all across the world. In Brazil, kids put together special performances for their mothers before a community barbecue at a local church or school. In Japan, kids present their mothers with red carnations, symbolic of her gentle strength. In Serbia, mothers are tied up until they acquiesce to give their children gifts and candy (this is real).

This Mother's Day, shake the routine in your classroom and introduce your students to some international customs.

Here's how:

Split your classroom into small groups. To each group, assign a country. It will be upon the groups to research Mother's Day customs from their assigned countries and prepare cultured gifts or tokens of gratitude for their mothers. If a group chooses France, for example, their research will likely lead them to writing poems. Remember to float around the classroom to keep your students on task. If a chosen country has seemingly blasé customs, encourage your students to be creative and create new (inoffensive) customs! If you want to get really creative you could even get all of your students to create their own country and a Mother's Day custom to go along with it. 


Introducing your students to international Mother's Days will contextualize the day for them and lead them to appreciate its significance as more than just another holiday. As a follow-up, you could talk to your students about other foreign analogs to American holidays. Tell them about Children's Day in China. That is sure to get a rise out of them.












A-Z of Fun Things To Do Instead of Making Resources

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Let's just lay it out there, teachers are a rare breed. There is no other career that springs to mind when I think about the tedious hours worked along with the minimal pay for the input given. Yet teachers are so dedicated to the education of their students. If you are one of the many fantastic teachers who help make the world a better place on a daily basis then I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Being a teacher you are often faced with the job of wearing dozens of hats that act as different roles. From being a school nurse to a graphic designer the jobs are endless. The truth is, with the modern world of technology you can now save time switching between so many jobs by seeking outside help. TPT (teacherspayteachers.com) is the perfect place to browse at your own pleasure in order to reduce the amount of time and effort that is needed to carry out your daily teaching job. 


Today I am going to provide you with 26 fun things you could be doing instead of spending tedious hours developing your own resources. I will do this by using the letters A-Z to add a fun educational element.

Adopt A Pet 

Blog Your Heart Out 

Cloud Watch 

Declutter 

Expose Yourself to New Ways of Learning 

Family Time 

Go to The Movies 

Handwriting Practice 

Ice-skate

Juggle 

Karaoke 

Learn A New Language 

Meet Someone New 

Nap Time  

Outdoor Adventure 

Play A Team Sport 

Quiet Time 

Read A Book for The First Time In Forever 

Socialize 

Travel 

Upcycle Furniture 

Vacate Your Life 

Walk 

X-Mas Tree Decorating with The Family 

You Time 

Zoo Trip 


Which letter was your favorite? Let me know in a comment below :).