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Friday, April 20, 2012

Could Money be the Key to Keeping Kids Engaged?

Who doesn’t like money?  Money could be the key to keeping students engaged in learning to the bitter end.   After just filing our taxes and trying to figure out the finances for elder care, calling financial literacy fun was the furthest thing from my mind, but the need for it was clear. 

Can financial literacy be fun?
Apparently, when you are a student practicing these skills it can be fun (just like practicing being an adult is more fun than actually being one!).  I recently talked to a principal who thought money could be the answer to increasing math instruction in her school.  She was not referring to spending money however, but offering students 45 more class period of math per year through financial literacy- a “fun” way to increase math skills.  I know another who used classroom money as part of her classroom management system.  Students would receive their pay coming in the door, the amount would be decreased if they came in late(just like the real world!).  She had a great system of "paying" students for proper behaviors.  Students could purchase items that she got free from conferences with their money.  They did think it was fun!

Will this cost us money?
It turns out that there are lots of free financial literacy resources out there.  I would start with the free classroom money pack which features money patterns, transaction sheets and teaching ideas- perfect for any classroom.   Another resource, from the blog post entitled “Financial Literacy can be Fun” is the BizWiz program from the BizWorld Foundation for free if you use it this year ($189 value).

Your tax dollars at work
You can find more fun financial literacy activities from The Mint or our United States Treasury offers free (your tax dollars at work) downloadable math lessons called  Money Math: Lessons for life.

Games for Sponge or Enrichment Time
Any teacher could offer these games to do as an enrichment activity for students with “extra time”:  Rich Kid Smart Kid or Money Island .

Looking to include some critical thinking?
Try out the Cleveland Fed’s free activity book entitles “Great Minds Think:  A Kid’s Guide to Money” for middle schoolers.   and have students work their way through some personal financial decisions.
You could also have students try out the “Money to Spend” SCAN scenario at where they will look at money issues from the different perspectives built into the scenario.

Looking for more?
Search for financial literacy at or check out these additional resources from Edutopia
Please add your resources and ideas!

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