Fun, Easy-to-Use Teacher Resources & Lesson Plans in English and French to Bring Financial Literacy Into the Classroom
The Credit Counselling Society (CCS), in partnership with one of the largest school districts in Canada, the Surrey (BC) School District, embarked on a pilot project. We wanted to find a way to introduce financial literacy topics to students in grades 4 through 7 using lesson plans and teacher resources that are readily available, easy-to-use and available in English and French.
Teaching money concepts starting at an early age, helps children learn what they need to know to become financially literate and capable adults.
Goal of the Financial Literacy Pilot Project
Under the guidance of CCS, a team of teachers worked to find teacher resources to augment the existing BC curriculum so that teachers could cover what they're already teaching, and at the same time, help students learn about money and money concepts.
After a thorough vetting and evaluation process, in which over 20 resources were tested with students, the pilot project team identified "Make it Count" as its resource of choice.
"Make it Count" was developed by the Manitoba Securities Commission and is available in both English and French.
Benefits of the "Make it Count" Educational Resource
- Canadian content
- Neutral branding
- Clearly laid out lesson plans
- Includes black-line masters (non-branded)
- Not based on access to technology
- No student sign-in required
- Easily available by download for teachers and instructors
- Adaptable and flexible based on grade level, class composition and regional demographics
- Contains a good variety of topical content
- Links to prescribed learning outcomes (PLOs) in many subject areas (BC curriculum considered)
- Is engaging for students because it ties to "real life" (based on topics not concepts)
To download a PDF of the guide, click below:
To order a printed copy of the guide, click here.
What is Financial Literacy? What Does It Mean?
After consulting Canadians across the country in 2010, as part of its final report to Canada's Minister of Finance, the Task Force on Financial Literacy defined what financial literacy means to Canadians:
“Having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions.”
"Make it Count" does not include student assessment tools. As with other lessons, it's important to evaluate if our students learned what we wanted them to learn.
The pilot project working group created pre- and post-assessment questions and an assessment rubric to measure student learning across 3 factors. These 3 factors are significant in bridging the disconnect between financial education and financial behaviour, and are highly relevant (linked to real-life) and age-appropriate for students in grades 4 - 7.
The 3 student assessment factors are:
Choosing Appropriate Products or Services / Tools
This means determining what you need for what you want to achieve. For children, this can mean something as simple as having a savings account and depositing birthday, gift or earned money. For a tween or young adult, it may mean choosing a pre-paid cell phone with a basic call and text plan, rather than a more expensive phone on contract. For the grocery shopper in a household, it may mean choosing store-brand items over name-brand items to save a little extra money.
Saving by setting money aside to spend later is vital to successful money management. It not only helps prevent debt and money troubles once someone has access to credit, it helps pay for unexpected expenses and provides opportunities. Those who think about and even take small steps to prepare for the future seem to understand the importance of saving better than those who don't. Saving money for future spending is something children are able and keen to do.
Routine Money Management
No one is born knowing how to manage money, so learning good habits early on sets us up for success. Children can learn how to save and keep their money safe; what influences their spending choices; the difference between needs and wants; the importance of goal setting; and what effective personal strategies are for making responsible spending and saving decisions.
Pre / Post Assessment Questions - Can Be Used as Part of Your Lesson Plan; Not Included in the PDF Teacher Resources
Pose these four questions to your students before you begin one of the lessons in "Make it Count" and then pose them again afterwards.
They can be used with all of the lesson plans but you many want to download them on this page because they are not included in the PDF downloads of the "Make it Count" teacher resources above.
- What do you know about/did you learn about _________ (e.g. planning a party) ?
- How does/did planning ahead help you to make decisions with your money? Explain why.
- How does/did choosing an appropriate product or service make a difference to your spending?
- How can/did managing your money wisely affect your spending decisions?
The rubric can be used for all of the lessons in the "Make it Count" resource, however not all points on the rubric apply to all lessons.
Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) from the BC Education Curriculum
To help teachers identify how best to teach financial concepts through lessons they're already teaching, here are some of the most obviously suitable PLOs the pilot group teachers identified for grades 4 - 7.
We deliberately did not highlight Math PLOs because they are the ones most often chosen for financial literacy related topics.
Tips for Using the "Make it Count" Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans
You don't need to be a financial expert to use this teacher resource. The lesson plans are topical and interesting!
Lessons apply to many subject areas and students are really excited to talk about money and money-related topics. Pilot project teachers were often surprised by how much their students were able to contribute. Even when students knew a fair bit going into a lesson, they still learned more. The lessons are rich in Language Arts and do not take time away from other lessons.
Depending on your students, it may be helpful to use the "Back to Basics" lessons about Money, Budgeting, Setting Goals and Earning Money for pre-teaching or to introduce upcoming lessons, topics and discussions. If you plan on using the "Make it Count" lessons throughout the school year, starting with "Back to Basics" in September would be ideal.
If students have trouble calculating one part of a lesson, e.g. tax and tip in the restaurant lesson, rather than teach them something beyond their level (how to calculate percent), discuss the topic (what tax and tip are and why they're important) and give them a set amount to work with. For instance, tax and tip on a $10 restaurant meal can be set at $2.50.
The are many different ways to teach each lesson - there's no right or wrong way. As such, the lessons also work well with TOCs (teachers on call / substitute teachers) and can be left as a TOC package in your classroom.
Once you know which topics are in the resource, prep time is absolutely minimal and can be done on the fly.
Even if your students have seen a lesson before, seeing the same lesson again simply reinforces its importance. Students will be able to build on what they've learned and because lessons are so adaptable, no two teachers will teach a lesson in exactly the same way.
The pilot group teachers also tested a number of books and a video to support the "Make it Count" lesson topics and/or PLOs. Even though some books may seem too juvenile, older students really liked looking at something familiar (either on their own or with a younger student from their buddy class) and considering the additional financial concepts they were learning about.
For More Help or Information about This Financial Literacy Project, the Teacher Resources & Lesson Plans
If you would like help bringing financial literacy lesson plans to your school, or finding workshops and webinars to increase your own level of financial literacy before you introduce these topics to your students, please contact Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy at the Credit Counselling Society. She can also provide you with more information about this unique financial literacy pilot project and the development of the teacher resources listed above.
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