Saturday, February 15, 2014

Spark Student Motivation- Bentin Bucks

Hey there!  Back again to link with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her weekly linky: Spark Student Motivation Saturday!  

I apologize ahead of time for the wordy post... not too many pictures to share, just an explanation!  I use Bentin Bucks in my room that students can earn and yes can lose and it's been the best behavior system that I've ever used!

There isn't a ton of money in our common core curriculum for third grade, so my team and I have all adapted some sort of money system in our classrooms to get students using money. I start each year off with students getting $25 for their bank accounts.  Then each day students can earn $5 Bentin Bucks for completing their homework.  Everything has to be done in order to earn the money.  So they can earn $25 a week just for doing their job.  I also hand out money (I keep a stash in my pocket, or up by the board at all times) when I see students following directions, working really hard, or doing what they should be doing without being asked!  They can earn $1 for each 100% that they get on an AR quiz, or for being a lifelong learner-  they participate and try to answer and pose questions in class. (Sometimes I even hand out a higher dollar amount if I notice that one or two students are really going above and beyond with behavior or academics.....)  

I also charge for things to get them used to making change.  They owe me money at the end of the week for 'rent' of their school materials (desk, chairs, books, computers, etc.)  It's not a large amount of money but it's an odd amount.  They own me $12.33 for these items.  It helps them budget their money, and also then they have to make change when they don't have a bill that is worth $12.33 ....(Trust me at the beginning of the year several students don't get that!  They think that they can't pay for something with $20 that is worth less because they don't have exact change!!!)  They also owe me money for having to leave the room during learning time to use the bathroom.  We take several trips during the day for a break or to a special and we always take a bathroom break before or after.  So if they have to leave it's $8.00 each time.  Yes expensive, but it really takes away from the potty parade!!!! We have a huge discussion about what to do if it's an emergency and that I will ALWAYS let them use the restroom--- they just can't abuse the system!

If students aren't doing what they need to be doing or making bad choices, they owe me a Bentin Buck (or more if it's necessary).  This is a huge range of things from talking loudly in the hallway, or not being on task during center time when I'm working with small groups.  Yes I do have to take money, usually not a lot, but there is one or two a day--- but once they have to give me a Bentin Buck, 9 times out of 10 they will fix whatever the problem is and I won't have to worry about it again. 

I've been using this for 3 years now, and I have to say it's been a great way to incorporate money, saving, spending and also having fun. I open up a Bentin Store where they can purchase goodies with their money once a month or once every other month.  I have just little trinkets that I have collected from clearance bins or garage sales.  I also have a sheet of things that they can buy that don't cost me money (lunch with a teacher, extra computer time, stay in at recess and play a board game with your teacher and a friend, classroom pj party, pizza party, etc. etc. etc. ...) I let the students make the list at the beginning of the year!  

Anyone else do sometime similar??? :)  Have a happy weekend!


  1. I love classroom economies. Your Bentin bucks are awesome. I have never charged them for rental of school supplies but I really like that idea - especially how you use an odd amount - great teaching point. I can't believe there is not more in the CC for money or time really. Those are two life skills that kids need!

  2. I love the idea of money because it's such an important skill that the kids need to have. I always use tickets, but I'm really bad about giving them out. I try really hard and then it just doesn't stick and the kids seem to forget about it. I need to be better about this!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I'm glad you do this, although there is major inflation when your students get to my class. (Pay is $10 a day and late work is a $5 fee.) I use collegiate cash and the students do pay rent and receive a monthly paycheck. Then in April, we pay taxes. It is a great real-life economy, especially in those months when the income doesn't match up with what needs to be paid.

    Like you, we have been having trouble with being quiet in the hallway. The kids decided it would be a $20 fine if they were talking. So far only one student has had to pay -- twice. Can you guess who?? She was one of yours. :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. This is great for getting the kids ready for real life!

    Success in Second Grade
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  5. Love this!! Very similar to the post I just added to the linky -- Love your ideas!! I give my students change, because in 3rd grade in VA we only go up to $5 ( we aren't common core) - and there is a LOT of focus on coins and bills mixed. My post is in the linky - but I really enjoy yours. I don't charge for rental of supplies - but I do fine my students if they don't keep their supplies neat!

  6. I like this idea a lot!! I student taught at a school that used money in a similar way and at the end of the trimester, they would have a garage sale. Every student could bring in items to "sell" to other students. Students could only bring in items that would fit on their desktops. They would set up their sale and sell! Kids would take turns shopping and they would have a classmate "man their stand" while they were gone! I liked this system because it took all pressure off the teacher to provide the items to sell!

    Kate :)
    McDee's Busy Bees


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