Business Book Bags
A few years ago our SIFE team noticed that there are currently no standards for economics education in Pennsylvania school curricula. Furthermore, there are no standardized tests to ensure that students are learning economic concepts. In response to this, Business Bookbags was born. Launched in the spring of 2005, this program is designed for students in 1st through 3rd grades.
To assist with this project, our SIFE team forged a partnership with Economics Pennsylvania, a statewide non-profit organization, to implement Business Bookbags with three goals in mind: 1) to promote economic education, 2) to develop literacy skills, and 3) to increase parental participation in children’s education.
Members from our team put together multiple sets of bookbags, each containing three economic-themed books, 3 activities, and 3 discussion questions, along with an evaluation sheet to be filled out after the students completed the bags. The bookbags focused on topics such as saving, budgeting, etc. All activities were aligned to Pennsylvania education standards.
Once the bags were completed, we sent them to Mount Carmel Elementary School for the pilot program. The bags were kept in the library and could be checked out by students to take home. Based on the evaluation sheets, we saw that Business Bookbags was a huge success and we began to expand this project. In the spring of 2006 we sent a set of bags to Audobon Park Elementary in Florida. Inspired by the idea that Business Bookbags could reach not only a national audience, but an international one as well, in the same school year two of our SIFE members personally delivered a set of Business Bookbags to the Cofradia Bilingual School in Cofradia, Honduras. The bookbags are still being used by students at the school today. We continue to look for opportunities to implement Business Bookbags in local, national, and international schools, and anticipate the continued expansion of this successful project.
This year, member of the project are sorting through the books that were collected from the book drive, and are deciding where to donate them. They have already set aside some of the used books to send to the Seals' Den and are looking for other local, national and international locations. They have also collected unused business book bags from Selinsgrove Elementary and are currently locating schools where the bags can be distributed.
Coloring Outside the Borders
In 2006, SU SIFE developed our first coloring book to distribute at a Market Street Festival downtown from our campus. What started with one coloring book in a small town quickly grew into an international project, impacting hundreds of children across the globe.
Our team connected with service learning trips that Susquehanna students participate in bi-annually. We then developed coloring books that emphasized economic themes. SU students took our coloring books along on service trips to New Orleans, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
During the 2007-2008 school year the project grew at a rapid pace. We now have five different coloring books in English, which will be sent to teachers in areas still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. We also have a coloring book written in Spanish which will once again be taken to orphanages in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In addition, HOLA, an organization on campus, uses our books to help with their tutoring program.
This fast expansion was made possible through a generous gift from HARSCO, which allowed us to get all of the coloring books printed on sturdy material. In the coming years, we hope to expand our reach with this project to other children throughout the world. If you are interested in incorporating our coloring books into your classroom (they are suitable for 1st through 3rd grade students), please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Ethics Essay Contest
In 2003 SU SIFE conducted our first essay contest with the theme of entrepreneurship. We received four entries, and continued the contest the next year, doubling our entries to eight.
In the contest's third year we decided to shift topics for the contest and focused on business ethics instead. In an effort to expand the contest, we distributed flyers and bookmarks to over 200 schools in 7 surrounding counties. We also tied the judging criteria to PSSA standards so that teachers could incorporate our contest into their curriculum.
We received 278 entries in total and awarded savings bonds to the winners during an awards ceremony held at SU. In its fourth year, the contest again grew to 296 entries. We incorporated teacher evaluation sheets into the project that provided positive feedback on the impact our contest had in their classrooms. Teachers told us about classroom discussion that was generated because of our age appropriate prompts and praised our awards ceremony where parents, teachers, and students were able to join us to congratulate the winners.
The 2009 fall essay contest was the most successful yet. We received over 400 entries and found ourselves very busy reading over each essay. Three winners were chosen from each age group and the 1st place winners received a savings bong along with SU gear provided by the campus bookstore. Every teacher's involvement in our contest was also recognized and rewarded because with out their help this would not be possible.
We are very excited about the potential for this year's seventh annual contest. The committee is anxiously awaiting the entires so the reviewing process can take place. We hope to have the winners chosen by early November. Every student who entered an essay will receive a participation certificate, and the winners will be invited to SU's campus for an awards ceremony on Saturday, December 4th at 2 p.m. in Apfelbaum Hall, Room 319. At the ceremony, the winners will read their essays and receive a prize for their hard work. We also encourage teachers, friends, and families of the winners to attend the ceremony.
If you or someone you know would like further information or the necessary entry sheets, please contact Kati Frantz at email@example.com. We are looking forward to another successful contest!
Shop 'N' Save
This presentation and interactive game teaches young students the importance of budgeting their money. Each student is given a paycheck, then given a chance to shop at our “SIFE Store”. Items on the shelf include everything from food to iPod’s. Students are then given surprise events – such as a flat tire. Only those students who have budgeted their money are able to pay for a new tire and continue the game.
We have presented this to numerous classrooms, and each time the students respond extremely well. They have so much fun with their “pretend money” that they often forget that they are actually learning valuable financial management skills that will help them later in life.
Nine presentations are coming up between now and Thanksgiving break! The Shop 'N Save members will be traveling to Selinsgrove as well as Lewisburg school districts to educate the students about the differences between wants and needs and the importance of budgeting their money. More presentations will be scheduled for December and winter break!