Disclosure: This post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price and Scholastic. The ideas and opinions are all my own!
The holiday shopping season, full of holiday specials and clever advertising, can be an overwhelming time for many Americans as we think about holiday gift-giving and finding that oh-so-perfect gift.
This can also be a time of financial hardship for many families because they overspend during the holidays and find they are unable to make ends meet after the holiday season. This makes the gift-giving season the perfect time to emphasize good spending and saving habits with our students so that they can better understand how to make smart choices with their money as young people.
Many state standards include skills which emphasize financial literacy. I know I certainly wish I’d had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how to spend and save my money earlier in life. It may have made it easier to make good choices during my late high school and early college years.
We as adults may possess some knowledge about how to spend and save money, but how do we accurately share this knowledge with our students? I often hear from teachers that they are struggling to find resources to teach this important information.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Money Confident Kids®—a program for middle and high school age students by T. Rowe Price. In collaboration with Scholastic, the program offers a wealth of resources that teach these important financial skills in age-appropriate language and with examples and articles that are relevant to their grade band.
At some point, every American young person dreams of owning a car. However, sometimes they lack the focus and the plan to make it happen. The ability to create, execute, and maintain a plan to reach a goal is an essential life skill. As teachers, we have an opportunity and obligation to support our students in this endeavor.
Through the use of the Money Confident Kids® materials, students have the opportunity to better understand and evaluate their own spending habits, how to set realistic financial goals, and how to prepare for a solid financial future.
- Buying a car is a huge decision but one that many people make each and every day. The Money Confident Kids® High School Magazine presents a historical but realistic view of what buying a car really means. This is a great opportunity to have students begin researching the cost of purchasing a car, new or used. Many students have never taken the time to sit down and look at how much it costs to actually leave the car lot with a car, much less think about the other associated costs such as gas, insurance, and maintenance. When students begin to look at the cost of owning a vehicle compared to their income, reality begins to set in. The Money Confident Kids® materials provide a springboard for and open the door to discussions about how students plan to purchase and maintain a vehicle.
- Budgeting is a difficult task for even the most responsible adults. The Money Confident Kids® materials really help students get to the nitty-gritty of what it means to spend and save. There are several resources available to help students create realistic budgets that allow them to plan for big purchases, travel, and college.
- The Money Confident Kids® Teacher’s Guide includes an additional wealth of resources to go beyond the student magazine and delve more deeply into essential money topics, such as understanding credit and how to make sense of marketing strategies.
I know that many teachers worry about spending time on topics that are not a part of their everyday curriculum. Here are some strategies for connecting the materials to what you are already teaching:
- Create realistic examples when you are studying simple and compound interest and allow students to explore how savings accounts and credit card purchases are impacted by interest.
- Use inflation as a way to help students understand percent of increase and how the cost of items has changed and will change over time.
- Represent monthly budgets with both positive and negative numbers as a way to look at income and expenses and have students create a balance sheet to reflect how bank account statements show the movement of our money.
- Use the holiday shopping season to investigate better buys and help students understand the power of marketing and advertisements.
It’s never too early to begin helping our students understand the importance of making sound financial decisions about spending and saving money. As math teachers, we have a unique opportunity to integrate this knowledge with the math that we teach every day. After all, spending and saving are all about addition and subtraction!
With the use of the T. Rowe Price resources, you can bring a little of the real-world into your classroom and students can get a glimpse into their future. From the Star Banks Adventure® Game to the Money Confident Kids® series, there is a wealth of information and resources for middle and high school teachers and students.
Want to know more? Head on over to http://www.scholastic.com/mck/.
MONEY CONFIDENT KIDS and STAR BANKS ADVENTURE are registered trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.