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The Ecklestein Classroom Economy

Compiled By Steve Hooper 

(E-mail: stevehooper60@yahoo.com)


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     This economy is designed to mimic real life in a simple way- on a fourth grade level actually. Many components are flexible as this is an explanation of my way of doing it. One would certainly have to simplify it for third grade and make it more complex for fifth.

    This economy eliminates paper “token” money, which in turn eliminates theft and ambiguity of ownership. The teacher keeps an exact total for each student, and they in turn keep precise records of their income and expenditures. I have found that 99% of students buy into the system. The “credits” that are the currency take on real value. The economy grows. (I have not figured out how to make it shrink as well, but then I’m not sure that is a necessary element. I do tell the kids that in real life the economy does shrink from time to time.)

    This economy takes work to maintain. The rewards of the time and effort that are put in are entirely worthwhile in my experience. It is my sole classroom management technique.

Students must keep track of every item that is added to or subtracted from their account. Time must be allotted every day to do this. I usually do this in the morning immediately after checking homework. I pay them for attendance, their homework, and whatever else needs to be added (or subtracted, as in the case of those who were late or who have not done their homework).

On Mondays, I check for accuracy by asking each student to read his total. I generously reward those who are exactly correct and moderately reward those who are close. This takes some time, but it is well worth the time spent. It teaches place value recognition, for instance. After this period, everyone should have an accurate balance recorded in their ledgers. If a student has not been keeping track, I charge a fee to tell him what his total is, whether he cares or not.

Friday mornings I quickly read each student’s total so that they can correct any mistake they have, as well as know the totals of the other students, therefore arming them with knowledge for auction and marketplace.

I have several “auxiliaries” that are attached to the economy. These include the savings account, the investment account, the millionaires club, and the gambling option.

Click on the links below to learn about how it works.

Overview

Needs/Materials


How To Do It

Lottery



Auctions/Marketplace


Savings and Investment Account


Millionaire's Club

Gambling Option



Spreadsheet Example


The most basic and important element of this economy is for it to have meaning. It must be constantly utilized and maintained. After it is underway and it has been in use for a few weeks, it becomes an integral part of the classroom experience.


About the Author

Steve Hooper is a fourth grade teacher at Victoria Avenue Elementary School, within the Los Angeles Unified School District, in South Gate, California.

About Bob Ecklestein

I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Ecklestein at the “Reading By Nine” conference put on by The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Unified School District. Since the conference had little value and turned out to be an abysmal waste of time and money, Bob and I had ample opportunities to talk. I found out that Bob has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Southern Wisconsin at Madison. He held a job for 10 years with the corporate offices of the now defunct Zody’s Corporation. After that, he went into teaching where he developed this economy. During our extensive conversations at that putrid conference, Bob explained in great detail how this economy works. I took careful notes and this version here is very similar to the one he outlined to me on that worthless, infuriating day. Bob now resides in Gebo, Wyoming with his wife, 2 kids, and a dead gerbil.


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