This is the funnest motivational tool that I have used in my classroom….Classroom Cash! My students simply enjoyed earning money for their hard work. Some may say it is bribery, I say it is motivational.I usually change my classroom theme each year, so last year, since I had a rodeo theme, I made “Cowboy Cash.” I used this theme again and the children loved it-again!
zoo bucks The whole classroom cash idea is explained in detail, in my book “Taming Your Zoo of a Classroom” (not yet published-but soon, hopefully!) But, here it is in a nutshell… I reward students for many things using cute-computer made money. Here, you will see the cute $1 Bear Buck, $5 Jaguar Buck, $10 Lion Buck and $20 Tiger Buck. For each dollar, I make copies on different colored card stock paper. Many state standards and research-backed ideas are integrated into using classroom cash. Students learn to use self-control to earn money, by turning in homework, following various school and class rules, being caught doing something nice, reaching an academic goal, reading a book, learning specific target skills. As they start earning money (it is never just given) they learn to add it up and count how much they have earned. They get to use subtracting at the end of the week when the Classroom Store (or Zoo Store) opens up. I use a plastic 3-drawer tower (from Wal-Mart/$10) to store the prizes for the store. The first drawer holds $5 prizes, the second drawer holds $10 prizes and the third drawer holds the $20 prizes. I have used this classroom management system for the past three years, and the students absolutely love it and are so engaged!
Classroom Store- Shown below is our class store where the students can spend the money that they earned throughout the week. This is the Buffalo Store because our mascot is the buffalo. The first drawer contains $5 items, the second drawer has $10 items and the bottom drawer has $20 items. I decorated this $10 plastic drawer container thing with foam stickers that I found at Michaels, for $1.
Transition song posters (click to open free downloadable document) I use these posters just to remind me to sing between classroom activities. Students need more than just a verbal reminder. Sometimes they ignore the sound of the teacher’s voice, but as soon as they hear a tune, they listen and start moving!
Here is some money is you use an Ocean Theme in your classroom:
Daily Folder Calendars
I send home a daily folder with my students for the purpose of keeping communication open and ongoing between parents and myself. Before school starts, I scope out the cheapest pocket folders. This year, I found 1 cent folders at Office Depot. I also found 9 cent folders at Walgreens. Wal-Mart price matched the folders for me too, when I had to go back and get more. I simply print out one calendar per month and staple it to the inside right of a pocket folder. At the end of each month, I staple the new calendar sheet on top. This is a great way to keep track of student behaviors, trends and progress. It is great tool for conferencing and is also helpful for special education students data collection. I leave the left side open for parents to send lunch money or notes to me.