I don't even know where to begin in teasing apart the mishmash of motivations and behavioral acculturations around teaching children what money is all about in this context. Supposedly, money was once about a means of exchange, it had something to do with allocating and managing scarcity; increasingly today, money appears to be more about behavioral compliance. This may not be an entirely bad thing, if the behaviors rewarded and encouraged directly and proportionally benefit the individuals in question. It's complicated.
New Behavior Reward in my Classroom
I use a Behavior Ladder (basically a clip chart) in my classroom to manage student behavior. Students earn dollars (Star Bucks) when they move up and lose dollars if they have to move down. They can use their dollars to buy items from the treasure box or pay to eat lunch in the classroom. This system has worked well for me. I've been slacking off on treasure box lately. I'm tired of having to buy things for it, and parents aren't always consistent in sending things in.
The machine takes quarters, and one night in bed I found myself re-thinking my Star Bucks. Money is such a hard concept for first graders to master. Why am I making them count fake money when they could be counting REAL money? I decided that after Spring Break I am getting ride of the Star Bucks. Star Bucks will be replaced with REAL pennies which they will trade in for REAL nickels, dimes, and quarters. I'm so excited about this! Since next year I will be using this system from the beginning of the year I think it will really improve their counting money skills!Read more at www.firstgradebrain.com