What is the Dingle Store anyway?
Each year, students from other grades ask this question. Well, as any good teacher does, I have taken some great ideas from other teachers, and added on to them to create the Dingle Dollar system. Here is how it works in our room.
Although I created this system as an incentive for careful homework completion, I continue to implement the program without this component. Rather, this year, students will receive payment for demonstrated responsible classroom citizenship, as outlined in our Diamond Core Values.
Because I am a firm believer in students building the habit of completing their mathematics homework, I designed this as an incentive. For the first month of school, students are trained to write the complete problem, show all of their steps, and box in their answers. With the Common Core, many problems now involve many steps and very detailed explanations. As I check homework each day, I am checking for evidence of thoughtful work; I do not grade homework.
At the end of the month, students are given a choice of how they would like to be paid: weekly or monthly. I pay $1 per week if homework is complete each day of that week per the above standard. If one day is substandard or missing, they receive nothing. Similarly, I pay $5 per month if homework is complete each day of the month. If one day is substandard or missing, they receive nothing. In the case of a one-day illness, they will have one day to complete the missed assignment. However, if a student is ill for the majority of the pay period, they will receive nothing.
Students will get paid at the end of their pay period. At the beginning of the month, they will have a Dingle Store day in class. They will have the option of either buying items in the store, saving their money, or investing. And this is where it gets interesting. (This is for the economist in me.)
Investment is tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the last trading day of the month, which I post in the room. Students may invest $1 or more on store day if they choose. If the Dow rises one point or more from the previous month-end average, I will double the money invested the following pay period. However, if the Dow falls one point or more from the previous month-end average, they lose their entire investment.
Many interesting discussions ensue from this. Students learn about their feelings about risk, and they begin asking what factors affect the Dow. Some begin to track current events and stocks prices. As the months progress, it becomes easy to see that the fastest way to accrue wealth is to get paid monthly (delayed gratification), and to invest wisely (instead of spend). This is a hard lesson for the risk-averse who simply save.
And, there have been loan sharks emerge who loan to their penniless classmates but charge painfully high interest rates, which then can become a lesson on assessing good and bad risks.
How can you help? Quite simply, I really need donated items to Dingle Store. I have purchased these myself in the past, but with 21 students this year, I am no longer able. For specific suggestions for items, please email me : - )