Many people have been to charity auctions where both items and experiences go to the highest bidder. In Ms. Lisa Muhs’ fourth grade classroom at Lennox Elementary School, students are participating in just such an auction. It’s a learning experience in several ways.
The first experience is learning where the money comes from. Students do classroom jobs, like roll call, the day’s announcements, running errands, or organizing and picking up the classroom; and they serve offices like banker or clerk for pay. They get bonuses for extra achievements. They also pay rent on their desks and pay fines for poor choices. The money paid and spent is in “classroom dollars.”
Every month, Muhs hosts an auction for items she has purchased or that have been donated, and for experiences like movie passes.
This year, in addition to economic lessons, students could bid on “a day with a school employee,” like custodian Todd Mulholland.
Recent winner of a job experience with Mr. Mulholland was Huckston Dubbelde, who said, “It was really fun. The best part of the day was riding the Zamboni, cleaning the whole gym, and emptying the Zamboni. Todd was very nice and patient with me. I recommend it for other kids who like working a lot.”
Huckston worked with Mr. Mulholland for an hour of his school day and said one thing he learned was, “You have to take your time and do a good job cleaning.”
Mr. Mulholland was as excited about sharing his workday and expertise as Huckston was to work with him.
Mulholland said, “A very big thank you for giving me the opportunity to share in these children’s growth. I absolutely love it and feel very grateful that Ms. Muhs and her students have confidence and trust in me. It’s an amazing opportunity that I take very seriously, and I’m honored to be able to be a small part of helping these children grow.”
Muhs sees her role as teacher to be not just as a facilitator of facts but also as a coach of connections between language, math, and science skills and the real world.
Muhs commented, “I have used My Classroom Economy, myclassroomeconomy.org, a free K-12 program through Vanguard, for six years. I tweak the program almost every year to fit my students and the classroom needs, but recently decided to incorporate real-world job experiences. I look for experiences in Lennox and surrounding communities. My students love this program and work hard to save their classroom dollars, but also, they pride themselves in paying their bills. Most students take advantage of paying off their desks early to save money in the long run.”