Abbot 5th-graders learn about how to live, work in mini-society

Barrett buck
A $10 denomination of "Barrett Bucks" used at Abbot Elementary. Students are learning ways to spend their "money" wisely.

By Angie Ceely
AAPSNews Service

Monthly rent of $500 for your desk? Being paid $100 for receiving 100 percent on a math test? Being fined $50 for a messy desk or locker?  Jobs, money and real estate are now a part of everyday life in Tracy Barrett’s fifth-grade classroom mini-society at Abbot Elementary School.

Students worked together to determine potential names for their mini-society, and voted on the final name. The “District Five” mini-society will be in place for the entire school year.

All students are employees with specific jobs to perform. The main job of each employee is to be a student. Students are expected to complete all assignments and follow the school and classroom rules. Each student is also responsible for a classroom job which could include: bankers, janitors, accountants, graders, homework distributors, couriers, librarians, clerks, police officers and absence coordinators.

In early September, students completed job applications with their top three choices for jobs as well as why they would be the best person for each of those jobs. Barrett announced job assignments after reviewing all of the applications, and then trained everyone on their specific tasks and responsibilities.

Students will have the same job for the entire school year. Each job has a set salary; an employee can receive a raise for a job well done, or can be fired for not fulfilling responsibilities.

“Barrett Bucks,” designed by students in a variety of denominations, are used as money. Students are paid set amounts when they complete assignments, perform their jobs and follow school rules.

All students pay $500 monthly rent for their desks, and may use any remaining money they have at the monthly classroom store. Items for purchase include modeling clay, recorders, pencils sharpeners, puzzles and more. Students can also decide to save their money to purchase their desk for three times the amount of rent. If a desk is owned, property taxes of 20 percent are paid in January and April.

So far, District Five is off to a great start. Students are enjoying their jobs and the salary that comes with a job well done. They are learning valuable life skills on a day-to-day basis with this yearlong project.

This article was submitted by Abbot Elementary School parent Angie Ceely.

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