A Grade 4/5 class at Sorrento Elementary is learning financial literacy skills along with their math – and they are having fun doing it!
Teacher Sara Haugland explains that the “real world” experiences of earning money, writing a resume, figuring out taxes, balancing a chequebook and even mortgaging their desks are all wrapped into their math lessons through a financial literacy project which the class will work on until Spring Break.
“This is my second year running the chequebook project at Sorrento Elementary. Students were really engaged with the process last year, so – at their request – I brought it back this year. We are working on decimals right now, and what better way to begin to look at decimals than through adding and subtraction them? We also take a look at percentages, and discuss them. For those students who need a challenge, they work on figuring out the percentage owed during taxes without a calculator, otherwise all students can use a calculator on Tax Day (every Friday). We focus on financial literacy, as well as learning our essential math decimal skills!”
Haugland developed a class list of “credits” and “debits” where students can earn or lose their “money”. This is the “money” that the students keep track of.
Last week her students filled out a job application for a class job. “They were encouraged to write reasons they thought they were a good fit for the job, and they had to have two references from the class that said they thought the student would be responsible for the job. Prior to January, each student was asked to volunteer to help with our class jobs. Those students who volunteered were encouraged to put that experience on their job application, and they were then given first pick for the job as they had demonstrated experience. If there was a tie for the job, it would depend on the review left by their reference as to who would get the job.”
Recently students were given their chequebooks. “We will work on this project until the start of spring break. Students perform lots of various actions to gain money that they can use to do things such as buy their desks (by having a mortgage if they so choose), participate in a silent auction in March, and buy supplies (if they lose/misplace them). They have the opportunity each week to “bid” on mystery prizes once they have completed their income tax”.
Following are photos of the class inputting attendance and homework into their chequebooks for the day. Students are encouraged to write in their chequebook as things are happening; so for example, writing in their $20 daily attendance when they arrive.