Story from Ms. Sarah Myers at Halethorpe Elementary
The idea grew out of a reading unit we do called “Let’s make a difference”. “Bee Bucks” (play money-we are the Halethorpe Bee’s-therefore Bee Bucks) are used as a reward for students. They earn a bee buck for following directions, cooperating with others, participation, helping others, etc. They keep track of their money and can cash it in every two weeks for various rewards–lunch in the classroom, running class meeting, show and tell, a treasure box toy, etc.
During the “Let’s make a difference” unit students read and talk a lot about kids that make a difference. We talked about poor people (especially kids) in Maryland and how we could help them. Ms. Myers told the kids that if they donated their “bee bucks” she would exchange them for real money and we could donate to a charity. They were extremely motivated and extremely generous. Within two months, they donated pretty much everything they earned. Kids that had been saving up for a while immediately gave all their bee bucks, and then as soon as they’d earn new ones, they’d march right up to the front of the room where we had a donation container and donate again. It may sound a little trivial, but they really value this play money-especially to buy lunch bunch with their buddies.
By the end of the year, Myers’ class raised $700 to donate to the Maryland Food Bank. Visit the Maryland Food Bank website to see the story about Ms. Myers’ class.