Allow me to share a little secret that has changed the whole workings of my class: Star Bucks. These Star Bucks are the currency circulating in my classroom. A friend and colleague passed them down to me a couple of years ago. Even though I was hesitant to use them, they have proved to be life changing. Here's what I do with them:
Students earn Star Bucks throughout the day for speaking English (I teach in Mexico, so their time in the school day is, for most of them, the only time they speak English). They spend Star Bucks as a fee when they go to the bathroom. This has greatly helped students regulate when they truly need to go to the bathroom and when they don't (it works, believe me!). No one wants to spend their hard earned Star Bucks if they don't have to. The fee increases throughout the year (inflation), but currently it costs 4 Star Bucks to go to the bathroom during work time, and 6 during carpet time.
Every Friday we have about 15 minutes of free time (I refer to this as fun-time Friday), but students must pay an entrance fee to participate. Again, the fee increases throughout the school year, but the price is currently at 15 Star Bucks. Students may participate in the regular stations at this price (LEGOs, play-doh, puppets, blockets, etc.), but special stations (iPads, art, and extra recess outside) cost an additional 10 Star Bucks (we have to have some way to get back all those Star Bucks back!).
Not only do students LOVE being able to use their Star Bucks to do fun activities on Fridays, but they LOVE the simple act of collecting their Star Bucks. I think they'd be just as excited about Star Bucks if the only thing they did with them was collect and count them.
Here are some FUN FACTS about Star Bucks:
*You can give them out for anything.
*We use a basket in which students deposit their Star Bucks when making a payment.
*Students keep their Star Bucks in their pencil box.
*Students may only count their Star Bucks before or after school, or during recess. Otherwise, students would be trying to count them when it's time to do other things.
Do you have a class economy? I'd love to hear about it.