Friday, December 27, 2013

How I Inspired My Students to Become Interested in Business

The last person I ever thought would teach a business club was me.

A year ago, a boy stood up in front of the whole staff at our school's staff meeting. He wore a full suit, carried a leather portfolio holder, and in an extremely professional manner, proposed the idea of business club to our elementary school. He shared his extensive background and knowledge of business, and outlined the benefits of educating students at an elementary level. In awe of his dedication, I decided to take on the task of being the teacher who hosts business club.

The only problem was that I knew close to nothing about business. After some serious Googling, brainstorming with friends and family involved in business, vigorously searching Teachers Pay Teachers, and diving into a variety of children's business books, I managed to create our school's first ever Business Club!

Through this club, students...
  • Learn the basics of starting up a business
  • Brainstorm their own ideas for a business
  • Create a business plan
  • Analyze their business plan
  • Explore various marketing strategies
  • Create a marketing campaign 
  • Learn about investors
  • Write a sales pitch to investors
  • Participate in a mock "Shark Tank"
Here is the video I played before the mock Shark Tank.

I teach Business Club for about an hour every other week during lunch, and if I choose not to do this as a club anymore, I will find time to implement it in my classroom. Many of the activities I do are interactive and give the students a choice! Each meeting I try to allow students to talk to a business professional through Skype, FaceTime, or in person.

Prior to the meeting, outside of my classroom door, I post a brief overview of the guest speaker. I encourage students to read through it, and write down possible interview questions. I found that if the students are generating the questions, they are more engaged and get much more out of the experience.

Why is it beneficial?
  • Students practice school skills in a real-life situation. 
  • Students enjoy the simulation and the fact that it brings in pop culture.
  • Students get the chance to work on something that they are genuinely interested in and passionate about. 
  • It inspires creativity and innovation. 
  • It involves the community. 
  • It incorporates technology in an authentic way

Other ways to implement Business Club?
  • Business reading and/or writing unit
  • Project for Passion Time/Genius Time/ 20% Time 
  • Summer enrichment program

Here are some business-related children's books I recommend:

Purchase my Business Club Bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Enjoy the Shark Tank commercial I played this year to encourage students to join Business Club. I blurred out the faces for privacy purposes. 

This will be my second year hosting Business Club, and now that I have more time and bigger ideas, I plan to add a Stock Market component to it. Be on the look out for my Stock Market unit!