“The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees. I need money. That's what I want. (That's what I want. That's what I want.)”
Money(That's What I Want), sung by Barrett Strong in 1959 and written by Barry Gordy, was Motown’s first hit record. The Beatles covered this song in 1963. Countless other groups from Led Zeppelin to the Smashing Pumpkins and Josie and the Pussycats also covered this song. Students understand the power of money, although they may not understand how the flow of money works.
This summer I wrote five successive blogs about how to turn your classroom into a thriving economy. The students work and play in an authentic atmosphere as they learn the subtleties of American capitalism. Take a look at the archives to get the background for the unit, Economic Endeavors. The following is a quick review of the unit and a stupendous collection of Word 2003 files for you to download, revise, and use in your classroom.
The unit lasts the entire school year. You create a job application for the students to complete. This application also serves as an inventory of the every student’s interests. Be sure to include an essay section on the application in which the students think and write about the college they wish to attend. Let’s set the bar high for every student.
Teach Your Students to Stay Organized
Organize your class so it promotes consistency, expands intrinsic motivating behaviors, and teaches students to keep themselves organized. Every morning, or at the beginning of every class, take five minutes to go through a simple checking procedure. Use the Student Prep Form to show that you are serious about the students coming to class prepared to learn. Once or twice a week, make the time and use the Organization Form to check every student’s notebook. Build their skills so eventually the students, working in small collaborative groups, check each other’s notebooks. Granted, the last procedure assumes that each student uses a three ring binder with specific dividers. Every student’s tabbed dividers (just like OneNote) should be in the same location. This speeds checking procedures.
Expect the best from your students. They need to be taught how to organize their work; both on the computer and in their notebook. Knowing how to organize is a learned behavior. We also know that some students come to use with a greater degree of organizational skills. Students record their points on each form. You will need to create a weekly teacher table that includes each student’s name on the left and the Prep Form areas at the top. Just refer to the Student Prep Form for the topics. There are seven topics and five days of school. The marks (a 1 or 0) are totaled at the end of the week and shared with the students. They write their scores on their Student Prep Form.
Payday happens once every five weeks. The students use the Salary Voucher to determine their earnings. This is a perfect form to translate into an Excel file. Every student’s job salary starts at $5000. While you’re at it, create a Bonus Award form that has six progressive categories of advancement. Include in this form a way for the students to calculate salary increases as a percentage of their previous five week salary. Follow the ideas in hotel award levels. I have included a Real Estate Contract for your student agent to use.
Have your students draw the classroom currency. Better yet, use Illustrator (advanced), Word, or Publisher to create the currency. Download the currency Word file to use as your starting point. Don’t forget to use the money as tokens for great thinking and great work. When students have opportunities to earn money each day they learn the value of their work. Bankers will use Excel to keep track of deposits.
Grant Zimmerman is a Program Associate and National Faculty Member of the National Paideia Center at the University of North Carolina. He leads educators in Professional Development sessions on the Paideia Seminar and the Paideia Project. Grant is also a Senior Education Consultant with Knowledge Network Solutions—Leaders in Technology Integration in schools.