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Classroom Economy Resources

Updated on June 25, 2014

Resources for Teaching Kids About Money

Financial education has never been more needed than it is today. With studies increasingly showing the benefits of starting an individual's financial education earlier; the demand that financial literacy starts early in the classroom is becoming more and more urgent. Unfortunately, educators have also never been more pressed for time to meet the demanding teaching standards that are required of them, making the teaching of subjects outside of general education difficult to accomplish. A handful of classroom economy resources have been created to help the teachers that have this problem. And to help these teachers save time in their search for the most effective classroom economy resources (that ones that allows them to incorporate financial education into their lessons with minimal effort and maximum impact), we've compiled a short list of classroom economy/financial education resources from across the web

What is a Classroom Economy?

First of all, let's answer the question, "what is a classroom economy anyway?" A classroom economy is essentially a simulated economics system that takes place in the classroom. Typically, students use fake money to simulate being paid classroom dollars that they can earn from their assigned/chosen classroom jobs. In many classroom economy programs, students can experience real world scenarios, like being able to earn more classroom money for providing exceptional service in their jobs, in class, and for going the extra-mile.

Classroom economy participants also get the chance to shop. No, they don't get to go shopping at the mall like they all really want to, but they do get to spend the classroom money that they earn in classroom type store that is typically created by the teacher.

The Need for Financial Literacy

It's no secret that our country is in dire need of improvement when it comes to having a sound financial sense. If there was ever any doubt that the teaching of financial literacy wasn't vital now more than ever; hopefully your consideration of some of the following statistics will remove any last remnants of that doubt. So here we go...

  • Per the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 30% of employees in a 2012 study was conducted, showing that they had less than $1,000 in savings and investments.
  • The Employee Benefit Research Institute also showed that 60% of employees report that their total household savings and investments, (not counting the value of their home and any benefit pensions) is less than $25,000.
  • A Financial Literacy Survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in 2014, revealed that 61% of U.S adults admit to not having a budget.
  • A report put out by the Federal Reserve depicted the average credit card debt per household in 2014 as being $7,087. In addition, it also showed the average credit card debt for all indebted households, which was $15,191.
  • The CFPB, also known as The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, discovered that out of every dollar invested toward financial education, $25 is spent on financial marketing, that's a 1:25 ratio. What this essentially translates to, is that consumers are not receiving the well-balanced financial data they need in order to make smart financial decisions.
  • According to Bankrate.com, more than 75% of American families say they live paycheck to paycheck.

Financial Literacy on Automatic

Implementing a classroom economy allows students to learn real world money management skills, ultimately helping each student to become more financially literate in a fun and relaxed way.

Classroom Economy Options - Multiple Resources Readily Available to Help You Teach Financial Literacy

With the plethora of classroom economy resources out there, this handy list should prove to be a helpful time saving resource for anyone seeking the exceptional financial literacy tools that teachers deserve.

  1. My Classroom Economy

    My Classroom Economy is a financial literacy resource initially developed by teacher named Rafe Esquith, and then eventually funded by Vanguard. The classroom economy tool enables educators to teach financial responsibility to their students using an experiential learning method that is simple to set up and fun to use. The economic system implemented in this resource is primarily based off the concept that students need to earn school "money" so that they can ultimately rent their own desks.

    The My Classroom Economy resource is designed to overlay, not interrupt, a classroom curriculum. It is also customized by grade level, and really contains almost everything that is needed to build a classroom economy. It really is a great resource.

  2. Financial Lit Kit

    The Financial Lit Kit is an effective classroom economy resource designed by a teacher and her business savvy husband. The tool allows teachers to easily integrate financial literacy into their daily activities without impacting any key blocks of time within their day to day schedule. Similar to the My Classroom Economy resource, the Financial Lit Kit is also designed to overlay, not substitute, other valuable classroom curricula, while also correlating to multiple Common Core Standards.

    The Financial Lit Kit is primarily suitable for grades 6 - 8 and will enable educators to effectively teach students financial literacy through fun, experiential learning. It's an easy to implement classroom economic system that stresses the importance of increasing income and minimizing expenses so students can save/invest more; ultimately teaching them how to improve their economic potential. This resource really minimizes teacher preparation, and provides clear and thorough instruction on how to use it, and that is why it is so great!

  3. Scholastic's Creating a Classroom Economy

    Scholastic, the giant children's books publisher, designed a pretty good classroom economy resource. It's called Creating a Classroom Economy Unit Plan, and the resource is focused on grades 3-5. It effectively teaches students about the definition of economics, the value of jobs, the salaries attached to those jobs, and how to use the money they earn from them.

    The objective of the resource is to get students actively involved in economics via a year-long study of it. The students earn credits and debits while maintaining a class bank and store. The resource is meant to be cross-curricular, so students can learn key-principles and concepts, while using math skills on a daily basis.

  4. Mrs. Renz Yearlong Banking Unit

    Mrs. Renz Year-Long Banking Unit Mrs. Renz Year-Long Banking Unit is an extremely thorough classroom economy resource developed by a teacher named Heather Renz. Mrs. Renz believes there is no better way to learn financial concepts than to "live" them, which is why she developed her Year-Long Banking tool, focusing on grades 4 - 6.

    Mrs. Renz' classroom economy program runs all year, and includes just about everything you'll need to run a classroom economy while teaching decimal addition and subtraction in a fun real-world way. The resource is robust at 147 pages long, but is worth taking a look at.

The number one problem in today's generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy.

— Alan Greenspan

Other Great Resources - For Teaching Financial Literacy to Your Students

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