I feel like I taught a very powerful lesson today.
A lesson on managing money.
In my classroom,
my students can earn, spend, and owe money.
Students can earn money for all sorts of things:
great behavior, sportsmanship, a great attitude,
helping without being asked, academically sound responses in class,
the list goes on and on!
They can earn “debt” for a few things too:
forgetting to write their name on an assignment,
consequences on our behavior chart, extra bathroom passes
or forgetting to push in their chair.
There are others, but that should just give you a little taste.
They can also spend their hard earned dollars in our class store
to buy things like prizes, school supplies, lunch with a friend,
homework passes, and more.
And then, to cumulate the trimester, I host an auction
with larger, more enticing prizes.
Well, today was the last day of the trimester,
which meant we had our very first auction.
Ha! What a reality check this was for some students.
You can call me a mean teacher if you want,
but some students had hardly any money to spend,
which meant they left the auction with nothing.
I watched them as they looked around and realized
that their peers had managed their money a little smarter than they had.
Wasting it on bathroom passes just to get out of class,
or visiting the class store one too many times.
Or better yet, earning way too many behavior consequences.
Maybe this will change their outlook on the new trimester.
Who knows? Or maybe I’m just mean…
Others had merged their money with a friend,
and learned a hard lesson about sharing finances with another person.
For if one person wanted a prize, both parties had to agree
on spending the bid on the table, and if not
they were forced to sit down and miss out.
Maybe next trimester, they’ll have to decide whether
they should have separate accounts or keep the partnership.
And then finally, the ones who hit the jackpot!
It was fun to watch the ones with the big bucks
bid higher and higher for different items.
I loved watching them teeter back and forth if they should bid higher
just before I stated “last call” and upped the price.
The best was over a “one week of no homework pass.”
Two girls bid back and forth, back and forth,
until finally it was sold – for 80 dollars!
The class hooped and hollered,
some surprised and some jealous.
It was good times all around.
Another example of a lesson that wasn’t planned
but was a powerful one.