At Franklin Elementary School, gone are the days of a trip to the school library simply meaning checking out a couple of books. Instead, important financial lessons are being taught in the form of a year-long program. Mrs. Andrea Hetzke is Franklin’s Library Information Specialist and developed an impressive financial literacy behavior management plan for Franklin students. The year-long program for first through fifth graders helps to envelop a financial responsibility in students you don’t often see.
It’s a rather simple idea that can help make a significant impact.
The lesson occurs each time a Franklin class makes a weekly trip to the library. That trip starts with students returning the books they checked out the previous week, which is the first chance for students to earn money. From there they take their seats before the day’s Student Banker is announced and everyone is given their weekly earnings.
“I started the program to encourage teach young students to remember their books each week and it has grown from there” Hetzke said.
Throughout their library trip each student has opportunities to earn more money by performing tasks that reward them; being the first to set up their workstations properly, sitting respectfully during an entire lesson, or by even volunteering to showcase an item from home in the library’s “Mini Museum”.
The first trip of a month (starting in October) to the library then includes a visit to the store where students are given a chance to spend some of their earnings on a variety of items or experiences. For the younger grades those items include school supplies, desk decorations, bonus library rentals such as board games, or a chance to test their luck by spinning a wheel to receive a surprise item. The experiences then include getting to work as the Library Manager for a class period or being given library responsibilities usually reserved for staff.
Before entering the store however, students are shown more expensive items they don’t yet have the funds to purchase. Some students choose to spend their funds immediately while others don’t even sneak a peek into the offerings, instead getting in line to end their library visit with the plan of returning later to purchase something more desirable.
As the grade levels increase, so do the responsibilities and possible purchases. Upper grades are required to pay rent for their traditional plastic seats in the library each week and some students aren’t fans of those, so instead use a little more of their money to rent a much hipper stool. While still being given the opportunity to make purchases at the store, these students can also save up to purchase their seats in order to avoid those annoying rent payments each month. Some students go as far in saving to eventually become landlords and make more money off their chairs.
Hetzke’s program lasts the school year, but the financial lessons it helps instill will carry on with these Franklin students much longer than that.