I wanted to share an idea with you that I use in my classroom when I am teaching about money. It was an idea I saw another teacher implement, and I developed it a little further. It is not complicated or fancy. It is a VERY SIMPLE idea. At first, when I saw it being prepared, to be honest, I was very critical. I thought to myself 'that is NOT going to work'. Kids these days NEED more than THAT. Well let me tell you, once I had implemented this activity, it was ME that 'learned a lesson'. Not only did the kids LOVE it, but they continued for weeks, asking me if we could 'do the shop again'!
I love to set up a 'class shop' when teaching money. There is nothing like students experiencing actually 'spending money' to learn about recognising coins, notes, written money values, pricing, adding up and change. BUT sometimes, it is just not all that practical. You need space for a class shop. You need time to set it up and maintain it. And sometimes, let's face it, we are just too busy!
Enter, the "File Folder Class Shop"! Make a few of these so students can 'play' in small groups. Just draw a little picture on the cover.
Inside, you will need to display a variety of stickers. You can choose any theme. For this example, I used food stickers. BUT, you can integrate this with any theme or unit of work you are doing in class.
You put the stickers inside the folder and label them with a price. If you are only just introducing the coins and values to your students, start with a few simple ones. If you have older students, you can write values that will take a combination of coins to 'buy'. As well as the stickers, glue an envelope down in the corner for the money.
Inside the envelope, you can put coins. You mat have commercially produced 'play money' to use, or you could do some crayon rubbings of real coins and use some of these.
The crayon rubbings themselves, are a great activity for students to learn to recognise coins.
Once you have your 'shop' ready, demonstrate to your students how you would like them to play. Do a few demonstrations, and role play one person being the shop keeper and one person being the customer. This activity is a great opportunity to integrate LOTS of LANGUAGE learning as well. Turn taking, vocabulary, forming questions, descriptive language... yay!
The shop keeper could first welcome the buyer and talk about a few items in the shop. The shop keeper can then ask what the buyer would like to purchase. Model the correct sentence structure for all of these interactions. The buyer can then look through the shop and select what they would like to purchase. I would suggest making a limit of items for students to 'buy'. When first learning about money, your students should just buy one item. As they get more confident with money, you may want to them to focus on adding up values and giving change.
The buyer then selects an item, and must ask to buy it "May I have this strawberry", for example.
The shopkeeper then tells the price, and the buyer finds the coins to match the price of the item and collects them from the envelope.
The coins are placed out on the folder and collected by the shopkeeper. The sticker is NOT removed from the folder, it is just an 'imaginary' transaction. You may like to provide your students with a piece of paper to draw and record their purchases.
Once completed, students can swap roles and have another turn!
This 'class shop' activity is so simple to prepare, is very engaging for your students and your equipment will last for years! Keep them on hand, and it makes a great standby activity when you need a fill-in.