My students need retail items to purchase with money earned in the classroom to support math skills, familiarize financial literacy and a real world market economy. These are skills many children do not experience until adulthood.
My students all live below the poverty line. They see things that children shouldn’t see or even know about. When I tell them about life outside of their neighborhood and how there is opportunity for success through education, I see a gleam in their eyes and then a look of hopelessness. I want to help them believe that there is a way out and it comes through their own efforts , hard work and perseverance. I recently learned that my students wish people knew they were different than where they came from. It was eye opening to realize they knew what the world thought of them. When I handed out applications for job positions, interviewed the students and hired them, the smiles and sense of accomplishment I saw on the faces was immeasurable. Most of the students wanted responsibility even before I disclosed they would be paid in class cash. Students volunteered to design class money, write a jingle for the company and solicit jobs in other classes. I was amazed to say the least, that the children that have been labeled "lazy" or "entitled" actually want to work and earn their way.
The population of students in my care may or may not have positive role models to teach them about personal finance, employment saving and self discipline. My students are also unaware of life outside of their communities. Having little to no access to technology in the classroom poses a problem when attempting to expose students to other cultures, social issues and the economy. I currently have 1 old world map. It is poster size which most students can not see from their seats. Having four maps will allow the students to work in groups and learn about the places in which we study. They will be able to locate specific features and locations of the 7 continents. Most students are amazed at the how location, climate and economy determine how people choose where to live. P.A.W.S. Inc. operates as a business as students apply for job positions that pay certain amounts. The payroll clerk applies mathematical skills to calculate hours worked and paid. They create the payroll checks and employees (students) are paid once a month. Students cash their checks with the banker and are able to purchase items from the classroom store with the class cash they receive from the bank. Students will stock and keep inventory of items from the store as well. Students may purchase things from the store such as wristbands, earbuds, chokers and other school supplies needed in the classroom. All students earn 1.00 a day for coming to "work". Students will learn to work for earnings, spend wisely and save. The classroom jobsite not only prepares students for the Personal Finance unit of the Georgia Standards of Excellence, but it promotes accountability, self efficacy and a sense of responsibility.
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