Adventures in First Grade

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Nunley Store

Several years ago, a fellow teacher introduced me to Beth Newingham's Classroom Economy.  I LOVE this system, but when I moved to first grade, I had to tweak it a little bit. 

First the banks themselves.  In third grade I did use the tally sheet, but I knew that I needed something different for my firsties.  I tossed about a few different options, but I finally settled on the small plastic containers like this:

To make it more "bank" like, I used an X-acto knife to cut a slot out of the lid:

Students can earn money in lots of different ways:  working quietly, when I notice something great they have been doing (Thanks, Heather from Heather's Heart!), putting their name on their paper, being kind to a friend, if they receive a compliment from another teacher, etc.  However, they can also LOSE money.  Unkindness, falling out of chairs excessively, "pop ups", tattles, interrupting, etc.

Every other Friday, The Nunley Store is open for business.  On the Thursday before a shopping day, the students get to count their money.  We then sort the coins and start with the pennies by making stacks of five.  They have to tell me what coin equals five pennies and they trade for the nickel.  Then we will do nickels stacked in twos.  We work our way up to seeing if they have enough money to trade their coins in for a dollar bill.

I don't know if you can see in this picture or not, but this kiddo was able to trade 100 cents for a dollar bill and even had thirty-five cents left over!

Typically, I just pass out pennies, but sometimes I'll give out more, depending on the situation.  For example, every day right before dismissal, we do Secret Piece of Trash.  Whoever picks up the bit of paper that I decided was the Secret Piece gets a quarter.  Let me tell you...they have gotten REALLY good at picking up their messes!

Today was one of our shopping days.  This is what my store looks like:

I set it up on my guided reading table.  During our morning work and Read to Self times, I will call two students at a time to come shop.  Here are some things in my store:

In this picture:  small purses, Boggle, pencils, retractable erasers, mini rulers, another game, and a coin purse - all of the others had already been purchased.

This picture shows:  mini puzzles, glow-in-the-dark bugs, bracelets, rings, cars, and card games.

In this picture:  books, a different style of pencil, bookmarks, erasers, Play-Doh.

A lot of the items in my store I bought from SmileMakers or Oriental Trading.  The books are some of those freebies that will come in a Scholastic order.  The Play-doh was an amazing deal.  It was in the 75% off aisle after Halloween because they are "Halloween" colors!   I also love Target's dollar spot for some of the big ticket items!

I love using the classroom economy model.  Not only are they learning their coins and how to count money, but about economic choice, opportunity cost, saving and spending.

Wow!  I have really rambled on!

Happy Friday Everyone!


  1. I love your classroom store! I have a friend who has one in 2nd grade and I have thought about adapting the idea for my firsties. Maybe I could put it together for next year... :-)


  2. Fun idea!! I usually put together a store during our money unit..
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  3. So fun! I could start collecting little trinkets today! :)

    A Pirates Life for Us