Saturday, February 9, 2013

Don't Let Them Push Your Buttons

Let's face it, most teachers have one thing that just pushes their button. Personally, pencils are it for me. A student not having a pencil or needing to sharpen a pencil in the middle of my lesson drives me a little crazy. A student has to have a sharpened pencil, so what's a teacher to do? My solution was a classroom economy.  I've used many different types of classroom economies over the years. All of them were great but some a little too complicated to maintain.I couldn't juggle the ones that required me to write out checks, cash them, and deduct taxes. Don't get me wrong, if you can do all that, I applaud you. I just personally can't do it. I've finally created the perfect classroom economy for the busy teacher and one that will eliminate the button pushing. Drum roll please..... Introducing the Easy Classroom Economy! (Click on the picture for your free copy)  I give the students $10 every Friday afternoon. Every Wednesday I charge $5 for desk rent. If a student doesn't have enough money to pay for their rent, they have to do math facts sheets instead of participating in extra recess. (I love having this extra 15 minutes a week for motivating students, but I know many teachers wouldn't be allowed to give an extra recess. You could use their regular recess time instead. Another option is to have learning games time as the extra "recess".) On Friday afternoons, before I pass out the money for the next week, I open my store for students to spend their money. I have three baskets with small toys and cards with things like chew gum in class, homework coupon, free time on the computer,  etc. The baskets are priced at $5, $15, and $25. Very simple and easy to maintain.
The best part of the system is that I use it as my behavior plan, too. I have a list of Fines and Fees that students must use their economy bucks on. This is where you stop letting them push your buttons. I made a list of all the things that drive me crazy and put a fine to the offense. My students are allowed to freely sharpen their pencil before 8:15 a.m. but after that it's going to cost them a $1. Just like magic, no one EVER asks to sharpen their pencil anymore. Really!!! Rarely do I have to supply a child with a pencil either because they now cost $2. No name on paper.......$1. Repeating directions.....$1.  Going to the bathroom outside of bathroom breaks...........$1. Whining.......$2. Tattling for the pure pleasure of getting another student in trouble..........$2. Having a happy non-stressed out teacher...........Priceless!
Homework has its own separate reward and consequence. The one I use is very similar to the one Laura Candler recently blogged about.  It's a great post that you must check out. Click HERE to read it.
The bottom line is I try not take a student's misbehavior or missing assignments personally. I charge them economy bucks for misbehavior and put them in study hall for missing assignments. Of course, there will be students that are not motivated by either of these methods, but it will work for most students. I'd love to hear what works for you in your classroom.

13 comments:

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look!! And I love this simple way of managing the classroom's economy! I will definitely be using this when I go back into the classroom!!! Thanks for sharing : )

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    1. Thank you! Thank you! I'm so glad you like the new look:)

      Selina

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  2. I see you have a blog makeover. It is so cute that now I want one.

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    1. Thank you! I was ready for a change:)

      Selina

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  3. We have a real problem with people asking to use the bathroom. I can see the problem resolving itself immediately when I work out a variation of what you've described here for my own classroom. Thanks for sharing. Stacy @new-in-room-202.blogspot.com

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    1. It's amazing how that view it as "real" money. I love your blog, and I'm your newest follower:)

      Selina

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  4. I HATE irresponsible pencil sharpeners too! We should start a club :)

    My principal shared a story once about a student "pushing her buttons" and she looked out at us and she said, "that was my fault for exposing my buttons in the first place." I think about that all of the time when the kids' behavior is grating on me.

    I use a similar reward system - and find it to be very effective (most of the time!)

    ~Jessica
    Joy in the Journey

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    1. My principal said something similar to me, and it really made an impact on me. That was early in my teaching career and I've tried to keep my emotions out of it ever since. I use to get so upset when they wouldn't do their homework, but I don't anymore. I have my rules and consequences in place, and I just stick with them. Sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and remember they are just kids.

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    2. YES! Exactly :) As a second-year teacher, this is a very valuable lesson for me to learn.

      A coworker once told me that I cannot let my trouble student define my day - if he had a bad day, it didn't automatically mean I had a bad day. It took a lot of pressure off of my shoulders and I was able to leave school without feeling weighed down by the problem.

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  5. That is exactly why I started a classroom economy system as well. I was so tired of having to go to the store and buy pencils for them to be completely gone the next day. Sorry... not going to happen ever again. :)

    I like the paying rent idea. I may have to try that.

    -Courtney
    http://2ndgradesnapshots.blogspot.com/

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    1. Your blog is so cute! I'm your newest follower. The rent idea works really well because they want that extra recess.

      Selina

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  6. Thanks for the ideas! I'm am using this with my students to spruce up academics and behavior for the last part of the year!

    Dana
    Live Learn Teach for Life

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    1. You're welcome! I hope it works as well for you as it has for me.

      Selina

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