Elementary School Resources
For Elementary Teachers
Recent studies demonstrate that it is never too early for children to begin learning about money!
Our resources organized here are designed to support Elementary and Middle School teachers embedding and measuring the Illinois State Standards for Economics & Financial Literacy grade level or departmentalized courses.
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- Sprouts: Pre-School Economics Through Dramatic Play: A packet of 13 lessons created by the Louisville Technical Institute and the Kentucky Council on Economic Education. Appropriate for use in your pre-k through primary classrooms. Lessons include objective, literature/book, vocabulary, book talk, dramatic play, activities & extensions, and parent/child connections to home.
- Money Minded Illinois: Created in collaboration with Illinois Treasurer’s Michael W. Frerichs office, the curriculum here aligns to Illinois Learning Standards for Financial Literacy, Literacy, and Math and is created according to the Illinois Standards for Inquiry. Complete curriculum packages are downloadable and printable for each grade level in elementary school. Use the links on the right side of the page to access.
- The NGPF Arcade: NextGen Personal Finance’s suite of arcade games. Applicable 2-12 depending on the game and your teaching context. This partner, NGPF, also offers free curricular resources and professional learning for teachers that include amazon gift cards and other items as incentives.
- Junior Achievement of Chicago: Junior Achievement is a well known partner to more than a few schools in CPS. They have curriculum, lessons, and learning activities searchable for all grade levels and will work with schools to coordinate empowering FinEd events.
- $martPath Learning: Smart Path learning has free curricula for grades 1-8 that are available digitally and interactive. Their diverse set of characters use story-driven lesson activities that incorporate both ELA and math skills. This resource comes highly recommended from Elementary school teachers.
- EconEdLink: EconEdLink has some special items for April’s FInancial Literacy month, but is always a place where teachers can find free lessons and learning activities. Some old school favorites for elementary classes include the “the bean game” that teaches budgeting and savings.
- EVERFI: EVERFI has 30+ free online courses for grades K-12, covering topics including financial literacy, college and career readiness, STEM, digital wellness, and more. You can locate EVERFI under your CPS Clever Portal.
- MyClassroom Economy: Create an entire economy in your classroom, complete with “dollars” and with students taking on roles in the economy while making economic decisions such as switching jobs, paying a mortgage, or dealing with an unexpected emergency.
- The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau: Collected here are lessons to get any elementary classroom started. On your own, you can search by grade-level, activity type, standard sets, and more. Here are some recommendations for each grade level that match up with IL standards for Financial Literacy:
- K-1: Earning Money (SS.EC.FL.3.1)
- 2: Flying into Spending and Saving (SS.EC.FL.4.2)
- 3: Comparing places to save Money, (SS.EC.FL.3.3) and Sharing a Story about Borrowing (SS.EC.FL.4.3)
- 4: Bouncing Ball Spending Game (SS.EC.FL.3.4) and Using a Budget to Shop for a Party (SS.EC.FL.4.4) Suggested adaptation: Ask students to account for sales tax.
- 5: Paying for a science expedition using credit (SS.EC.FL.4.5)
- 6: Making Connections between Education and Income (SS.EC.FL.1.6-8LC) and Save & Invest Card Game (SS.EC.FL.2.6-8.LC)
- 7: Furnishing your First Apartment (SS.EC.FL.1.6-8.MdC) Suggestion adaptation: In this budgeting activity, add the option to buy items with credit while having students analyze interest rates. Making a Good Business Investment (S.EC.FL.2.6-8.MdC)
- 8: Getting a Credit Card & Using it Wisely (SS.EC.FL.1.6-8.MC) Playing the Insurance Matching Game (SS.EC.FL.2.6-8.MC)
- Sprouts: Pre-School Economics Through Dramatic Play (PreK-Primary): A packet of 13 lessons created by the Louisville Technical Institute and the Kentucky Council on Economic Education. Appropriate for use in your pre-k through primary classrooms. Lessons include objective, literature/book, vocabulary, book talk, dramatic play, activities & extensions, and parent/child connections to home.
- NAEE’s Blooket Games (PreK-8): You may know about Blooket (but I didn't). Think Kahoot plus. In any event, if you create your free account and then search “NAEE” which stands for the National Association for Economic Educators, you will find a few resources, including some spooky Halloween EConomics fun.
- CFPB’s Money Monster Story Books (PreK-5): Narrative driven lessons in personal finance from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. And they will send you free printed books! Check the link on the right side to order for free!
- Econ Lowdown (K-12): Create an account and create a classroom (all for free) to access hundreds of lessons related to economics and personal finance.
- FoolProof: Digital curriculum available through teacher and student logins. Utilized by Ariel School here in Chicago and steeped in a philosophy of “Health Skepticism” to create discerning consumers and economic decision-makers.
- NGPF Middle School: The NGPF Middle School Course is a free teacher-led personal finance curriculum designed by Next Gen Personal Finance for educators to deliver engaging financial literacy lessons to students in 6th grade through 8th grade. From money values to credit, taxes to investing, and interview skills to resumes, the interactive NGPF Middle School Course covers all grade level appropriate topics in personal finance.
- Discover Pathways to Financial Success: Aligned with the national CEE Financial Literacy standards, each module contains a video introduction, a key financial topic and 3 student learning activities aligned with literacy, math, and social science.
- Fifth Third's Young Bankers Program: Aligned with Common Core State Standards for Math, Fifth Third Bank offers online learning modules with recently revised activities for students as young as 5th grade. Activities are available in Spanish. Teachers can create accounts and classrooms for students. After completing the program a classroom visit is possible.
- The ISBE Economics and Financial Literacy Standards: Illinois’ Economics and Financial Literacy standards. Teachers from kindergarten to high school can find standards at every grade level. Check other parts of this guide for resources.
- Teacher confidence in Personal Finance Way Up: Tim Ranzetta, co-founder of Next Gen Personal Finance, authored this article for school administration and teachers. There is likely more confidence to teach personal finance among teachers than you might suspect.
- Alternative Financial Services in the time of Coronavirus: For FinEd teachers interested in examining how the corona virus is impacting the world of Finance. Featuring research from Dr. Melody Harvey from the University of Madison. Such an article might potentially be used alongside our Covid Vaccine interdisciplinary Inquiry to Action Project
- Best Practices for Financial Literacy to the Public: This report from the U.S. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission through the department of the treasury contains “best practices” for the public. The same applies to students and teachers.
- 403bwise.org: For all educators that have access to supplemental retirement, 403bwise is an advocacy group that has been supporting teachers and administrators in navigating “saving for retirement”. No products to sell, just free education and a community of learners.
- What Kind of Economic Citizen?: For teachers and administrators thinking about how Financial Literacy connects with and empowers education for participation in our democracy.
- Financial Education is not Enough: This blog post from one of our key strategic FinEd partners, the University of Chicago’s Financial Education Initiative, reminds us that we must be careful assigning lack of financial education as the cause of disparity. And that Financial Education must be accompanied by some key experiences that account for historical and policy causes of inequity.
- For teachers or administrators wishing to stay current on updated curricular resources and opportunities related to Financial Education, or to share your own schools’ success, please join our Google Classroom.
- We are working on developing K-8 Financial Education inquiry units this year that will be Skyline ready for SY23. If you are an elementary FinEducator interested in piloting these inquiry units in Semester 2 (stipends available), please register your interest here.