From Lesson Plan: Opening Your Class Store and Bank

The concept of a classroom economy may sound great, but the reality of creating and stocking a class store may seem a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips and suggestions for organizing and stocking the store.

What types of things do you sell in your class store?

Teachers know their own students and are best able to determine what types of items would be desirable among their students' age group, gender, and culture. Here are some ideas.

  • small toys
  • stickers
  • books
  • small stuffed animals
  • trading cards
  • key chains
  • posters
  • notepads
  • magazines
  • Matchbox cars
  • pencils
  • candy
  • snacks
  • erasers
  • holiday items
  • craft kits
  • games
  • friendship bracelets
  • dollar store items
  • raffle tickets

Where do you get the items for your store?

Collecting the items is the main concern for most teachers who are interested in opening a class store. Here are some ideas for collecting and purchasing store inventory.

Teacher-Purchased Items

Items at No Cost to the Teacher

  • Oriental Trading: This online marketplace has tons of small toys and other desirable items at fairly low prices.
  • Scholastic Book Clubs: I stock up on 95-cent and 50-cent books from the book club orders.
  • Dollar Stores: This is possibly the best place to find desirable, yet affordable, items for the store.
  • Garage Sales: If you are willing to search for gently used toys at neighborhood sales, you can find some items that student consumers may find desirable.

 

  • Parent Donations: Once parents are introduced to the idea of the classroom economy, they may be willing to help keep it stocked. I ask for donations every month and have even had parents sign up to donate items on a monthly basis.
  • Local Businesses: When businesses learn about the purpose behind the class store, many are more than willing to donate appropriate items.
  • Gently Used Toys: Some parents and kids have toys and games that have barely been played with or are even unopened. While you do not want to have "junk" in the store, these can be popular items.

 

Do you spend your own money?

Teachers must realize that there will be some out-of-pocket money spent to keep the store stocked. However, parents and students can help as well. My PTO supports teachers' classroom projects and provides all teachers with a small allowance. A request for parents to support the class store instead of purchasing gifts for the teacher during the holiday season is another idea. Finally, don't hesitate to involve the students. Since it is a class economy, students can raise money for the store by collecting soda cans or doing other small fundraisers.

What does your store look like?

I purchased plastic baskets from the dollar store to display the items at the store. Each basket is labeled with a price, and everything in the basket is the same price. This keeps me from having to price each item individually.

Where is your class store located?

The store baskets only come out on shopping days. I spread the baskets out on a large kidney-shaped table in my classroom. During the rest of the time, I stack the baskets and store them in a cupboard in the back of the room.

How often do students shop at the class store?

It is up to the teacher how often students will shop. In my classroom, each pay period is two weeks, so students shop every other Friday. Some teachers might prefer to open the store every week or only open it once a month.