My Wonderful Treasure Box! - Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!

My Wonderful Treasure Box!

My behavior plan works at any school. I simply take the school plan and add money to the concept. My school now has a "Flip Your Card" system. So if a student stays on Green all day, they earn $5, next is $4, etc. The amount is recorded by the students each day in their agenda and signed by their parent nightly. If missing homework starts to be a problem, then they lose money ~ just like the real World, do your work, earn a paycheck!
Every other Friday we shop the TREASURE BOX!! My husband made me this Pirate Style Treasure Box & I love it!!! The kids love it!!! But years ago before I meet him, I just used a brown box with the words Treasure Box on it, they loved the stuff in there just the same. I also have Rubbermaid bins to hold the overflow! I continually keep it open & stacked up so it looks SO EXCITING!

Each nine weeks I also use a different method of "shopping" the Treasure Box.
First nine weeks ~ I am the store keeper, manager & banker. I set everything out during my planning on the U-shaped table. I call them back 2-3 shoppers at a time, record their withdrawal in their agendas & figure out their balance. The entire time I am talking to them about their money, spending vs. saving, subtraction of 2 to 3 digit problems, etc. It is one on one of Real World Math & Social Studies.
Second nine weeks ~ I have two different store clerks set out the merchandise. I continue to be manager & banker...however, I also pass out calculators and they have to keep their OWN running totals, just like a checkbook.
Third nine weeks ~ I have two store clerks and I now use two of my highest math students to be the manager & banker. I am now the "Mayor" where I just watch and supervise the little town!
Fourth nine weeks ~ Now shopping days run completely without me! Two store clerks, one manager, one banker and one mayor! Everyone has a job and after a few weeks, everyone has had a couple of turns. I am free to smile & watch it unfold, grade a few papers, pull a few students back with me to work on small group things....nice!

I have also found that they are very good at being the Police...they will rat a peer out in a second if someone tries to steal from THEIR Treasure Box! Nothing has ever been stolen from my Treasure Box. I keep it up high during the school day & when we open up the store, they really are so excited about earning and spending that they are great little shoppers.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, it is NOT! My classes are always well behaved.....6th grade, 4th grade, 1st grade ~ it has always worked. What you need to do is find out what they like, what they will work for and fill the Treasure Box with those items.

If this sounds like a lot of in class time, it is NOT! We don't go to recess every other Friday so that we can do this, in the beginning it takes a little longer, so I also use it as an ongoing, real life Social Studies lesson during Social Studies time that day if needed. My students love this program so much, they never complain about those two days in an entire month that we don't go outside!

If this sounds like a lot of expense, it is NOT! It is much cheaper than always passing out stickers, candy, pencils, just little rewards that cost a lot over the school year. This puts all your expense into one area. I also send home a letter each nine weeks asking parents for donations, even gently used Matchbox cars, etc. Rich school, poor school, my Treasure Box always stays full! PFA will even hear about it and bring in donated items and things that they think my boys and girls will like. I get many seasonal items when the store is letting them go for 75% off after the different holidays. I also use my couponing it get really great deals!!! I also ask Realtors, Lawyers, Pharmaceutical Sales People ~ they will donate pens, key chains, magnets, etc. All you have to do is ask your grown-up, non-teaching friends and you will be amazed at what turns up! Decorative pillows, books, plastic cups, necklaces, Madi Gras beads, etc!!!

Last, my favorite thing ever, ever, ever ~~~ is when they are shopping and they buy things for their little brothers, little sisters, their Moms....I've come to tears many times when they have behaved all week to buy their little sister a baby doll or their little brother a toy truck. It will show you a completely different side of your students! :)


  1. I love the idea of having students keep up with their money. I'd like to incorporate classroom economy with my behavior system too. One thing I put in my treasure chests are little coupons (business cards I make on Vista Print for free) for various things: chew gum in class for a day, sit in teacher's chair, front of the line pass, etc. Those are their favorite treasures and are free for me :)

  2. Ashleigh, I cannot believe I missed your comment ~ thanks for such an amazing idea! I have never done that & it is cheap, cheap, cheap! I love it!


Back to Top