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Grade 6
Print complete program
Grade 6

Establishing Your Economic System

To start the classroom economy program, you'll need to select:

  • A set of student jobs.
  • A level of monthly rent.
  • A list of opportunities for bonus money.
  • A list of fines for violating class rules.

Your selections can be from the lists we provide or based on the classroom rules you've already developed. As an option, you may choose to involve your students in creating the bonus and fine lists.

Once the lists are ready, post them in your classroom and refer to them throughout the year. If you wish, you can use materials from this site for the posters and handouts.


Every student in the class needs a job. You can select jobs from the list below, and you can create additional jobs to meet the specific needs of your classroom. We do recommend that you include four core jobs: Banker, Fine Officer, Messenger, and Clerk.

Each job needs an appropriate salary. The highest pay should go to the most responsible positions.

This list shows suggested duties and monthly pay for some of the more common jobs.

Jobs Job Description Monthly Salary
Banker1 for every
5 students
Keep banking records for about five students. Accept money for deposits. Pay out money for withdrawals. Keep some cash ready to meet requests. Deposit remaining cash in the Central Classroom Bank.Requires a recommendation.
Fine Officer1 for every
5 students
Check the teacher's offense log for violations of class rules. Hand out fine tickets to students who break the rules. Keep a record of fines and payments. Deposit money from fines in the Fine Folder.Requires a recommendation.
Clerk2–3 per class
Hand out papers to students. Hand out materials such as art supplies. Collect papers or homework from students when asked. Organize the class supply shelves and keep them neat.
Messenger1–2 per class
Deliver written or spoken messages to people throughout the building. Answer the class phone.
Custodian3–5 per class
Keep the writing boards and countertops clean. Tidy up classroom areas when they need it. Make sure recycling items are placed where they should be.
Librarian1 per class
Keep a record of books checked out of the class library. Remind students to return the books if they are late. Keep the class library organized. Take books to the school library as scheduled.
Attendance Monitor1 per class
Take daily attendance and record absences. Report absences to the teacher. Provide students with make-up materials when they return to class.
Homework Monitor1–2 per class
Keep a daily record of students' completed homework assignments. Inform Fine Officers about incomplete or missing homework so they can write fine tickets.
Substitute1–2 per class
Perform the job of any absent student.
Technology Supervisor1–2 per class
Turn the lights and computers on or off at appropriate times. Assist with technology tasks such as setting up projectors, preparing cameras, or using audio equipment.
Equipment Supervisor1 per class
Keep a detailed record of all classroom equipment. Borrow and return gym equipment when necessary.
Horticulture Specialist1 per class
Water plants at regular times. Clean up fallen leaves or petals from plant pots. Dispose of dead plants when necessary.
Store Clerk1–2 per class
Manage the school store. Keep a record of inventory.
News Director1 per class
Keep the class updated on current events. Research topics of interest to the class. Write articles for the class newsletter.
Meteorologist1 per class
Check daily weather forecasts and report them to the class. Keep a record of weather that occurs throughout the year.


  • Consider creating jobs to match tasks you normally assign to students. For example, if you typically have a class pet, you might want to hire a Zookeeper to oversee its care.
  • Avoid choosing jobs that will be difficult for you to teach or manage. In the classroom economy, the students should be able to perform their jobs without constant supervision. That way, they'll know that they have earned their pay—and they will have lessened the burden on the teacher, which is an additional goal of the program.
  • Changing jobs quarterly or in the middle of the year is an option, but it could require a lot of retraining. If you decide to have the students change jobs, consider asking them to train each other.
  • If some of your jobs will require a letter of recommendation, consider giving advance notice to your students' previous teachers. Rather than write a letter, some may prefer to contact you by e-mail or phone, or in person. These are acceptable alternatives, and the teachers may appreciate knowing that in advance. The primary purpose of the letter of recommendation is to help you learn which students are capable of performing jobs with increased responsibilities. We believe that the prior-year teacher is the best person to provide that assessment.


The obligation to pay rent is central to the classroom economy. These are key concepts:

  • A student's salary should not quite cover the monthly rent. To make up the difference, students need to earn bonus money.
  • Students who do not meet their rent payments should face some loss of privilege within the system.
  • Those who make their payments and manage to save additional money should reap benefits.
Recommended Amount
Monthly rent$1,000
One-time desk purchase price$3,000


Failure to pay rent

We recommend that students who miss a rent payment be excluded from that month's auction. Although you may instead choose other privileges to be forfeited, remember that the program is designed to help students learn financial responsibility—it is not to punish them.

When students miss rent payments, it's important to get them back on track as soon as possible. You can take the missed payment as an opportunity for a discussion about choices, then encourage the child to earn bonuses so that he or she can catch up on rent and get in on the Auction Day fun.

Successful saving

Students who make their rent payments and manage to save additional money can reap rewards:

  • They get to be bidders on Auction Day.
  • They can be recognized in front of everyone during the year-end wrap-up.
  • Most temptingly, they have the chance to buy their desks outright and be forever free of rent.


In addition to the salaries students earn from their jobs, they can earn bonus money by performing well academically and participating in extracurricular activities. Students need to earn bonuses to succeed in the classroom economy. In addition, they can be useful incentives for your own class goals.

The following bonuses should be included if at all possible. The dollar amounts listed are simply suggestions.

Activity Bonus Amount
Earn 100% on a small test or quiz$50
Earn 100% on a major test$200
Earn 90% to 99% on any assignment$100
Complete an outside reading assignment$100
Get a compliment from another teacher$200
Join in an extracurricular activity$100


  • You can offer bonuses for specific behavior you want to encourage, as well as for activities important to your school. For example, you might offer bonuses for coming to school early to get academic help; completing all homework assignments for the week; participating in a math competition or science fair; playing a sport; or joining the school orchestra. You can also offer bonuses to teams of students working together.
  • With bonus money, it's far better to give away too much rather than too little. The more bonus opportunities you provide, the more often students will see their extra efforts rewarded. That means they'll be able to participate more fully in the classroom economy, and they'll enjoy it more.


In the classroom economy, the role of fines is to help students understand costs and consequences—it is not to punish them. The list of fines should be short and direct, matching your classroom priorities. Our list is an example.

Rule Ticket Amount
Messy desk or cubby$100
Missing work$50
Off-task behavior$50

Although the Fine Officers write tickets for fines, you control the process through an offense log. As you correct a student, you can mention that you're adding the violation to the log. Then, when Ticket Day comes, the Fine Officers write tickets based on the entries in your log. In this way you retain explicit authority over dealing with misbehavior.


  • The list of behaviors that elicit fines should reflect your own standards. As an example, our list allots the steepest fine to dishonesty, reflecting a belief that truthfulness is an essential value for children to absorb.
  • Make sure the fines you choose fit the culture of your school. For example, promptness may be difficult to enforce in your classroom if it is not a priority in your school.

Insurance simulator:

What's the damage?


Insurance costs:

One-time yearly payment of: $1,200
or monthly payments of: $200

Insurance simulator:

What's the damage?


Insurance costs:

One-time yearly payment of: $1,200
or monthly payments of: $200