HUES Bucks have gone digital! For those of you who have not already heard the news, after many, many years our beloved HUES bucks are going away; well, in their current form at least. For numerous years the sixth grade teachers here at the Upper Elementary School have used the HUES bucks system to help teach the students about economic principles, money management and behavior management.
In years past, the HUES bucks system has seen its share of problems as well as successes, but in the end there has always been very high praise for them from former students and families.
Like all good things though, the HUES bucks needed to grow with the times. So this year the sixth grade team has decided to retire our old paper currency in favor of something new.
Guess who have checkbooks and debit cards?
That's right; you're eleven and twelve year olds are very soon going to be able to balance a checkbook, and write checks to cover their auction winnings. I've set everyone up with an online bank account, pretty similar to the ones that we all have, that they will be able to check their account balances. What is really great about bankaroo is that I am able to give reasons/descriptions for the reasons that they are earning and losing money.
Which is always nice when mom and dad have access to their child's account too!
I guess this brings me to the part where I get to actually explain what we have going this year. As I previously indicated, our classroom is using bankaroo to help us transition to a paperless system. The kids all have accounts that I created that will allow them to log on and check on their balances, much like we do with our own online banking. I'm able to add and subtract funds from their accounts, with descriptions of how/why they earned/lost the money, and the kids have a means of participating in class auctions and other fun events without worrying about their money being stolen or lost.
In my classroom, part of our economics work involves the kids all having jobs that they complete each day for weekly paycheck. I'm able to give them each a "direct deposit" into their accounts. At the end of the month, bankaroo is set-up to automatically withdraw "rent" from their accounts so that the kids have an understanding of positive and negative integers. I assure them each year that NOBODY has ever been "homeless", and that while they will always have their desk, if they aren't smart with their money (i.e. spending too much at an auction and then going into the negative for rent), there will always be opportunities for them to get back into the positives.
In addition to the online banking of bankaroo, the sixth grade is teaching the kids how to use a check register to keep track of their account deposits and withdrawals. For our class auctions, which will happen monthly, the kids are all going to be given two, larger than normal, "checks" that have been laminated so they can reuse them. Anything that they would like to purchase will need to have a check written out for it and the bank (me) will make sure that the money is taken out of one account and placed into the other account.
To say that these guys are excited about these new changes would be an understatement. They love being able to see how much money they have at one glance, and are very conscientious about making sure their jobs are done well each day.
I'm thrilled at this opportunity to bring our HUES bucks into the digital age and look forward to seeing how things work this year.
6th grade educator, history aficionado, tech & pop-culture nerd, proud husband and father!