Saturday, March 14, 2015

Money, Money, Money!

Hi there! In Virginia, first graders need to be able to identify the number of pennies equivalent to a nickel, a dime, and a quarter and determine the value of a collection of pennies, nickels, and dimes whose total value is 100 cents or less. I am not quite on that topic in our math series yet, but from what my colleagues have told me, this can be a tricky concept for little minds. Remember, this is my first year teaching first grade and I am learning as I go.  I decided I needed to step it up to make sure these firsties are secure in this before moving on to second grade (which is coming at me way too quickly).

I've heard of teachers having "stores" where their students can "shop" for items. The students earn money for positive behavior and then shop on a given day. Not too bad. I could totally do this. It was decided. This was going to be my best bet of talking about money a little bit every day for the remainder of the school year. I have a bunch of plastic money in my cabinet not doing anything anyway, right?

My problem was that I didn't have anything for my students to buy from me once I started. So, I took myself to Walmart and began searching. It was right after Valentine's Day and I found some cute stickers, notepads, and other things in the clearance section. I walked around the store and found some other tchotchke items I thought could work, too. Then, I counted up how much this was going to cost me (in real money). AHHH... this was NOT going to work! I was already at $20 and what I had in my basket was not going to last 2 rounds of the kiddos "shopping" from me. I put everything back and went home.

I was completely discouraged. You know how when you get one idea in your head you just can't seem to get past it? That was me. I was stuck in this mode and I couldn't seem to get past it.

I think it was about two days later that my stubbornness subsided. All of a sudden I realized I didn't need to spend so much money. That was completely insane. That's when I came up with the idea for "Buy a Reward".
I decided to keep my original thought... the students would earn money. The change in my thought was that they would be able to buy things that are relatively free for me. Duh! I think the only thing that cost me is the fancy pencil. I bought pencils, feathers, and grips. I had ribbon already. This is what they look like:
Cute, right?

When I told my class the idea, and the things they could buy,  they were hooked. Money? Buying stuff? Yes, please!

This is how it works:

Everyone has a little envelope that I bought from Staples. I bought the coin sized ones. They are like this, but white.

I wrote their names on them and they keep them in their desks. They are responsible for them, just like a wallet. I pass out coins, generally pennies, for students who are working hard and doing what they are supposed to. When I see random acts of kindness I might give a nickel or a dime. I try to keep some of the money in my pockets and pass it out as often as I can. Because of this, I have a lot of plastic money on my nightstand too. Hehe! 

Throughout the week, when an opportunity presents, I might say, "Oh. You have 5 pennies. Do you know a coin that would equal the same?" Then the student trades their five pennies for a nickel. It has gotten to be that they are starting to recognize this on their own. When their envelopes start getting full, the first thing I hear is, "Can I trade some money?" I love it!

On Fridays, we count the money. First, we sort it. Then we use a dry erase marker to draw circles around the sets. Yes, on our desks! (This was a huge deal to the kiddos the first time we did it. I think they didn't believe me when I said to draw right on the desk.)
Next, we count each individual section and write the amounts on top. This helps reinforce skip counting, too, which we've been working on.
Then, we add up each section. This isn't as hard as I thought it would be. I guess because we have been working on counting this way with a hundred chart, and we've been adding our little hearts out for the past couple months.
Once they have the total, I have them write it on their desk and draw a cloud bubble around it.
Some lovelies even wrote their number sentences. Gotta love it!
Finally, it's time for shopping! I have four of each coupon so I choose sticks with names on them. When I call someone's name they get to "buy" a coupon. If something is sold out, they have to wait until next time.

Let me tell you, the first time I did this I did not pull sticks. I just said, "Who wants to buy ____?" Well, about 8 kiddos wanted to purchase the same thing. I ended up handing out four of the coupons and writing the other names on the board to remember what was purchased.

Here are the kiddos with their coupons. (Aren't blurry faces creepy looking? I wish I didn't have to do it.)
They were so excited to shop! They keep their coupons and turn them in when they are ready to use it. Then, the whole thing starts over. Super fun, lots of math practice, and behavior incentive all in one. Who could ask for anything more?
Here are two of the kiddos with the rewards. Nice!
If you are interested in these reward coupons for your class, click {HERE} to take you to my TpT store. I think this is absolutely going to work to teach my kiddos money. Yay!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Best wishes!

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