Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Small-fry economy

Lessons are real at school's market

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        WEST CHESTER TWP. - Just minutes after opening, Adena Elementary School's “Woo Hoo Fitness Center” had a line with students eagerly waiting to plunk down 15 “Adena Bucks” to race their friends or scale the bleachers.

        It was one of eight student-operated businesses that opened Tuesday for this year's first Market Day. For the past two months, second-, fourth- and sixth-grade classes organized their businesses and began production of wares, earning wages in Adena Bucks that they could spend at the market.

[photo] Aneda Elementary fourth-graders Brandi Ragland (left), Amanda Shellenberger and Daniel Rosado explain prices for cookies and other treats they were selling Tuesday at the school market.
([name of photographer] photo)
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        “The main thing was to help students learn economics, which is on the fourth- and sixth-grade proficiency tests,” said Darryl Berry, Adena assistant principal. “They used math and language arts skills. They took all the stuff they learned in class and are using it in real-life situations.”

        Each class had 5,000 Adena Bucks as seed money to start businesses. From that they had to pay wages, buy supplies and pay to rent space and advertise: $100 per table to sell goods, $10 to put up a poster in the school halls advertising their business. Students set their own prices.

        “It was very inexpensive,” fourth- grader Nikki Hess said in between races at the fitness center. “We saw one shop selling cookies for $10 each. Our winners get their names on certificates” and on the school's in-house morning news.

        Some businesses, including KK Crafts — Kool & Kreative — ran into production difficulties and weren't ready for Tuesday's market. They will participate in next spring's Market Day. But employees still collected paychecks for their work to date.

        “When we started, we couldn't get all our supplies,” said 11-year-old Angela Sims, whose job was to glue decorations on bookmarks. “We ran out of materials and had to trade. We also had to learn how to control our employees.”

        Angela said she put her paychecks — totaling 29 bucks — into the Great Bank of Adena until Tuesday, when she withdrew 25 to make purchases at the open stores.

        Fourth-grade teacher Connie Girard said she likes the project because the students worked together well.

        “They created everything,” Ms. Girard said. “I like it because some of the weaker students are able to shine. This taps into their talents. There's a sense of teamwork.”


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