I've learned over the past few days that my kids have absolutely no working knowledge whatsoever of money. Sure, most of them can identify a penny and a dime, but how it works in the real world, they are clueless.
Or WERE, I should say (and I should hope), after two intense days of money boot camp. Monday, they were telling me that they would subtract to find the total amount spent at a store and add to find change. Today, some of them were still telling me the same, but many were starting to catch on. Tomorrow, I have no doubt that some of them will stick to their story (after all, Youth Alzheimers DOES seem to be rampant in my class this year), but hopefully most of them will have mastered it.
I put a menu up on the board today (coke -- $2, hot dog -- $4, massive headache -- priceless) and started assigning them tiny little projects based on that menu and piles of fake money on their desks. I gave them a certain amount of money and a food order (2 hot dogs, 4 cokes, 2 chips, and a cookie) and their group had to figure out how much change they would get back if they bought that order. It took a while, but they finally started to get it, for the most part.
I still did have a few kids trying to subtract 17-40 or trying to find change by subtracting their food total minus the price of one hot dog, but overall, by the third mini-challenge, most groups seemed to be getting it.
Though the actual USE of money still eludes some. One boy asked, "You can buy something with five dollars?" in a tone of voice that suggested that I was telling him that skunks provided the best floral-scented handsoap. I asked him, "Have you seriously never seen a commercial for Subway sandwiches?"
To which the other kids chimed in, "YEAH! 5... 5 dollar... 5 dollar footlongs!"
Of course, by the time I see them tomorrow, they will have slept (presumably), so it might have flown out the window. I did have one little girl who was absent Thursday take a make-up quiz on rounding this morning. The first question said, "Round 583 to the nearest hundred." This little girl started writing, "5 - odd; 8 - even; 3 - odd." When I pointed out the word "Round" and asked her to ROUND, she told me, "I do not remember rounding." This is something we did all last week, but she's completely forgotten the skill already.
I really do NOT have high hopes for the STAAR this year...