Credit and Debit Notebooks
- Grades: 3–5
From Lesson Plan: Grand Opening
In the classroom economy, students use Credit and Debit Notebooks to keep track of how much they are earning during each pay period. Since students only get paid at the bank at the end of a pay period, the notebooks serve as checking accounts that the students balance before going to the bank to receive their earnings.
Here are the steps to creating and using credits and debits in your classroom.
- Each student will need a 4"x 6" spiral notebook. Put students' names on the cover of the notebook and glue a Credit and Debit Log (PDF) on the first page. They will use this throughout the school year.
- Explain to students that they will only get paid cash at the end of a pay period. To keep track of the money they are earning during the week, their credits (money earned) and debits (money owed to the bank) will be recorded in their notebooks.
- It is my rule that the teacher is the only person who can record credits and debits in the students' notebooks. The only time I ever use red pen is to write in their books, and I am the only one in the class with a red pen. Students come to me at the end of the day to get paid for jobs, and I dole out credits and debits throughout the day when necessary.
- The Credit and Debit notebooks serve as a checking account. Each student will start with $25 in his or her checking account (or whatever amount you decide based on your classroom economy). I use tallies to correspond to dollar amounts when recording money earned in the students' Credit and Debit Notebooks.
- Model how to calculate the total amount of money earned during a pay period. (Students should add up their credits and record the total on the log. They will then add up their debits and record that total on their log. Finally, students will subtract the debits from the credits to determine the total amount that they have earned.)
- Students report their earnings to the teacher or the economist at the end of a pay period so that checks can be issued to the students.