3 Easy Steps for Incorporating Financial Literacy in Your Classroom – No Matter What You Teach!
Written by: Kaley Esselborn
Financial decisions have always been complex—made even more so by a global pandemic. However, many students are not prepared to make informed financial choices as they move into adulthood. In fact, various studies have indicated that students without financial education are more likely to have financial problems, like low credit scores and significant debt, in the future. Financial education for youth is more important than ever before—and it takes everyone!
So what can you do to help if you don’t teach a personal finance class? Read on for three easy steps to include financial education in your classroom—no matter what you teach.
Step 1: Find a Connection
Money is everywhere! Even if you teach something that has nothing to do with finance (like language arts, art, or science), there is always a connection to be made. Finance is a great way to tie your content to a real-life experience all students have had or will have. The more often you’re able to tie what students are learning in the classroom to the world around them, the deeper their learning will be. Here are just a few examples:
- English/Language Arts: Use reflection questions to help students write about their first memorable experience with money or how money can help them accomplish goals for the future. You could use this in a unit about narrative writing or tie it in with goal-setting. Another easy idea is to pull articles or stories about money into your reading units.
- Math: Money is all about numbers! Use interest rates to teach multiplication or exponents, use coins to teach about decimals or place values, use taxes to highlight percentages, etc.
- Art: Do a unit about the business of art. Ask students to research the variety of ways artists make their money (selling digital prints, art shows, etc.) or how they can market their own art. Ask students to reflect on how they feel about money and then create a piece to illustrate those feelings. This can be a great conversation starter!
- Health: You could highlight the concept of financial health and why it’s important, as well as how it affects other areas of health (ex. correlation between socioeconomic status and health outcomes, impact of food deserts, etc.). Or you could focus on understanding the finances behind health (health insurance, costs of living, etc).
Step 2: Explore Free Resources
EVERFI offers free, ready-to-use online resources that are perfect for busy classrooms. Students can work through the lessons at their own pace, making them perfect for independent work time. Many teachers have students work on the lessons if they finish other things early, or as an at-home assignment they then discuss together in class. Explore the resources, then use this quick instruction guide to set up your account, or check out these quick videos to walk you through it.
- Adding Resources
- Creating Classes
- Student Registration
- Navigating & Managing Your Grade Book
Step 3: Make a Plan
After you’ve found your connection and chosen your resource, create a plan to push it out to students. Consider the following questions:
- Which EVERFI lesson(s) could tie into your class? Do you have them set up and ready to go?
- When do you want to present this topic? Aligned to a specific unit or chapter? During a national observance holiday (like Financial Literacy Month in April)? Built into your class throughout the year—maybe the first Friday of every month is Finance Friday?
- How will you present the connection to students? How can you activate their background knowledge to make it relevant for them?
- Which standards could you tie this into?
Your students are developing strong skills in your classes, but without financial capability, that hard work and knowledge gain could be rendered useless. By incorporating financial topics into every classroom, we help students prepare for long-term success and wellness, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status.