Dan Gasteazoro, a Grade 4 teacher at Glacier Hills Elementary School
in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been using Active Allowance in his classroom for the past two years. I asked him whether he found it useful in teaching his kids about financial literacy. Here are his comments:
I am incorporating your site to instill Financial Literacy in my classroom. But in addition, AA also offers me a forum to promote the social sciences (not just mathematics) – economics and political science – as well as foster teamwork, initiative and leadership skills.
Since the beginning of the school year, kids in my class have been working in teams after establishing their jobs list (chores).
The weekly process
- They have personal, daily ownership of the list and I initial it at the end of the day.
- If they don’t get me to initial the points they feel they’ve earned for the day, those points will be lost to their team.
- At week’s end, the checklist becomes a deposit slip to the Gasteazoro Economy Bank. They add up points which are entered into your system.
Other Debits and Credits
In addition they may have received debits or credits individually over the course of the week which they are obligated to deposit into their team account.
After adding these up, these earnings/deductions must be deposited/withdrawn from the team’s Active Allowance bank account at the end of each week when we enter their Checklist points.
- Credits might be in the form of “party” money – plastic gold and silver coins and Monopoly-style money that I found in games being thrown out. These coins and cash can be earned for exceptional behavior.
- The student, upon earning this additional money has a box in their desk serving as a temporary “piggy bank.”
- Debits may also be accrued in the form of small dot stickers which students hand over to a Team Captain (keeper of the checklist).
- The debits are in the amount of $5 and must be turned in at the bottom of the checklist.
Last week we opened the “GasteaStore-O” – this is an opportunity for kids to decide whether they should blow their earnings frivolously or to save for something they need/want. There are bonuses for teams that save and end up with a higher bankroll. Still, some students just want candy and spend their money as soon as they’ve earned it! Therein lies another Financial Literacy teaching moment!!
In the near future I will be adding in another real-world aspect to banking – interest. The ideas for more ways to incorporate AA into my teaching day continue to come to me. This has grown to be a useful and NECESSARY teaching tool for me. I think with a few slight changes, it would be highly useful and offer great opportunities for teachers to be successful in their teaching – not merely in Financial Literacy but certainly in that area as well. I have kids counting money out to me in payment that had been struggling to understand decimal place value!
And lastly, I have a fellow 4th grade teacher that I collaborate with often who is now implementing a similar AA format in her room. When she mentioned her intent, I instantly came up with the notion to create an extended economy so that the money from her room could be spent in mine and vice-versa. A little EU action in Minnesota!
Of course, I had to ask Dan Gasteazoro to tell us a little more about his GasteaStore-o. Stay tuned for more news.
In the meanwhile, we’d love to hear from some of Dan’s kids and their parents. How do you like the system?