It started and ended with money. What is it, how do we use it, why do we have it, and how can we get it? The second and third-graders in Ms. Robyn’s class began setting up shop – literally. Desks were pushed into corners and signs announced merchandise and pricing. Pencils, erasers, school newsletters and paper airplanes for sale littered surfaces around the classroom and the school lobby. Every free minute was spent building better stores, and more stores.
This was an anomaly that was not only pervasive but also perfectly appropriate. According to the Common Core standards, second-graders should be working on “Solving problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately” (http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Content/2/MD/C/8/). This project they were so invested in was good review for third-graders and new material for second-graders.
With this in mind, Ms. Robyn shut down the weeks-long work on pretend stores. With all this practice under their belts, they were ready for more and she gathered the class to discuss the possibilities of a real store. What would they sell? What were they good at making? How much would they sell things for and where would the money go?
Unprompted, the class definitively choose to raise money through their store for a charity. Which one?
The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs.
“We LOVE animals,” Ailani said. The students agreed that any funds raised would go toward buying needed items for the humane society, and that they would be the ones to deliver the merchandise.
For the next week, students worked in groups and at home on creations and signs for the store. “Save the animals!” the posters pleaded. Bracelets, clay figurines, pillows, paper ornaments and toys began filling the shelves – waiting patiently for their time to bring in money for the students during the ideal moment: PPOS’s student showcase.
Today students from all grades shared their learning and hard work through songs, plays, slideshows, and demonstrations. Throughout the hour-long parent mingle, Ms. Robyn’s class manned the store and collected cash.
With $120 in their pockets and an hour of experience making change for dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies; these seven- and eight-year-olds excitedly plan the next step: spending their profits and delivering needed goods to the local humane society.