The High Price of Classroom Management

Our behavior system is a traditional money system called Cool Cash. On each Cool Cash dollar it says "United We Behave". On Monday the students get $5.00 to start the week. On Friday, they need $5.00 (and all of their work done) to get in to Fun Friday. Throughout the week, the students have the opportunity to earn Cool Cash dollars from all of the teachers on my team. They earn dollars for reasons ranging from doing a thorough job on homework, to picking up a piece of garbage after everyone else walked by it. If they ask a great question or participate a lot, they earn a dollar. If they follow the directions the first time and are working quietly, they earn a dollar. I might be a more liberal distributor of money than other teachers, but for my kiddos it works. If I reach for my Bank (a little dollar store bin full of laminated Cool Cash dollars), my students sit up straighter. I can count the number of times I have had a student cash in a dollar this year for being disruptive or disrespectful.

On Fridays before Fun Friday, we do banking. The students have to count out how much money they need for Fun Friday, decide if they want to buy anything from my class store, and then deposit the rest of their money. We keep a banking log of each child's account and they have to do the math to figure out how much money they have each week. 

This past Friday marked the end of our 10-week marking period. We had our first Swap Day. Swap Day is the day that the students have been saving their money for. Each student makes a class store and sells something. They can sell old toys, tchotchke, nail polish, dollar store *stuff*, candy, crafts, rocks, baked goods, trading cards, etc. My classroom connects to our math teacher's classroom with a dividing wall, so we open up the room and allow the students to set up shop between our two rooms so the students can see all of the different stores and easily shop at each one. Swap Day was SO fun! The students made withdrawals from their bank accounts to shop and they left with grocery bags full of *stuff* (sorry, parents...) 

This one made me laugh. They named their store "Anna and Molly's Junk and Candy".

This girl had the right idea! If you bought 2 cookies you were entered into a drawing to win a free cookie. I didn't win.

Some things sold out fast!

In the past, I have used behavior wheels and color change charts for behavior and classroom management. While this method is highly effective in primary grades where there is a daily consequence to be compromised (free time, playground), I have found that these classroom money systems seem to make sense to the intermediate grade kids while teaching them a life skill. I also like that when students cash in for not having homework or for a certain behavior, it doesn't change their chance to turn the day around and start earning money. When I used to have a green, yellow, red system, the students who always were on yellow and red just got used to it and never had the chance to change for the better. I used to say there weren't enough colors in the rainbow for some of my little lovelies!

What do you use for classroom management? There are so many different ideas I have seen on blogs and Pinterest that I sometimes wish I could have multiple. Do you use a money system? How do you do it?


  1. I love your Swap Day idea! What a great way to foster entrepreneurship :p I am curious to know what the kids do with the money they earn from their shop?

    Teacher Kirra:Maestra Kirra

  2. What a great day, especially swap day. I'm sure the kids love it. I'm using a sticker chart system where kids work towards getting a prize from the prize box. Our school just implemented a system where they earn tickets and then they have drawings for prizes on Fridays. I like the sticker chart system, but often think about changing it up if I find something better.

  3. I love this idea!

    I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Go ahead and check it out HERE.

    Teaching Special Thinkers

  4. Great blog! I also nominated you for the Liebster Award.

    Brittany @ lovely literacy & more

  5. Hello! I LOVE your blog! I'm nominating you for the Liebster Award! Come to my blog and check out the requirements!


  6. We do something similar with out Freshman Literacy Academy. Very cool!

  7. This is great! :) I utilize a ticket economy in my classroom and students can shop at the Treasure Box (which has now turned into a cabinet!) on Friday's. Many students learn the hard lesson of saving up for something they want. Others are still impulsive in their earning and spending of tickets. I do like your idea of utilizing money. I will pass on to my student teacher! Thanks for sharing :)


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