Monday, April 29, 2019

Planning for the Currency Block

The classic Waldorf third grade Currency Block would not contain all of these elements. We worked with some extra content towards the end because we have a mixed age group. If you would like to plan a pure 3rd grade block, remove the advanced math. Operations with decimals is 5th grade math and the Business Math block (including reading graphs) is done in sixth grade.

Monday, April 15

  • read Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow, first published in 1890
  • discuss examples of how Pelle traded (trade = exchange of services) with the various townspeople who helped him after Pelle sheared his lamb in the Spring and wanted a new suit made from his lamb's wool

Tuesday, April 16

  • review Pelle's New Suit
  • read The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

  • consider how this (incredibly sweet) story is different from yesterday's (as the old woman makes a series of "swops," always with a spirit of generosity and loving kindness) and discuss the idea of trade as exchange of services and barter as trade with goods

Thursday, April 18

  • review and add the terms Trade, Barter, Goods, and Services to MLB
  • read Hans in Luck by the Brothers Grimm, discuss the problem of unequal trades (what if someone tries to trick the other person? is it still an unfair trade if the other person is completely happy with it?)
  • Button Barter activity
  • The Button Barter activity was great fun!

    I have a large collection of vintage buttons which I keep layered in a glass trifle dish and, without looking, gave a handful to each child. They then had five minutes (although they could have gone for longer) and traded with one another for buttons that they liked. I told them that each person could keep ONE button at the end. Adding in the fact that they could keep a beautiful button for real was motivating and increased the seriousness of the trading. It was authentic, they had a really good time, it didn't cost me much in buttons, and it definitely helped reinforce the concept of barter.

    Even in just five minutes time I could see the evolution of bartering. The trades became more sophisticated. The children also started to create categories depending on value, sorting their buttons into piles of those that were worth one button or worth more than one button, and setting aside buttons they wouldn't trade at any price.

Friday, April 19

  • review Hans in Luck, read What the Old Man Does is Always Right by Hans Christian Anderson
  • add The Problem of Unequal Trades to the MLB
  • discuss the California Gold Rush, the invention of blue jeans from demin tent fabric by Levi Strauss, and the price of a glass of beer as a pinch of gold dust (Which Way to the Wild West? by Steve Sheinkin)

Monday, April 22 - Foreign Money Sharing

Today was an extra-special day because I opened up the entire afternoon for families to bring in and share any foreign money which they had at home.

Glass artist Chad Goodpastor, who specializes in lampwork, opened the sharing with his collection of elaborate Millefiori coins. He showed us many intricate examples and explained that their value is based on the time, materials, and skill level of the glass artist, as well as the rarity of the chip. Each design is handcreated using threads of colored glass stacked inside a hollow tube. The design is built up painstakingly. The entire tube is heated and pulled, and then cut into slices which can never be precisely duplicated.

Anything can be used as money if both parties agree on the value of it!

All in all we looked at money, including coins and bills, from the following countries and places:

  • Domican Republic
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Haiti (both modern Haiti and colonial French Hayti)
  • Israel & Jerusalem
  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • France or Switzerland (a franc of unknown origin)
  • Finland
  • Holland
  • Ancient Rome
  • Great Britain
  • Spain
  • North Ireland
  • Japan
  • Hungary

We decided that we want to look up "currency," "penny," and "dollar" in SWI.

A family also brought in an interesting piece of U.S. money to share. It was a two cent piece from 1864. The oldest coin we saw had a certificate of authenticity as being from Ancient Rome. It was part of a family collection handed down through the generations. The remaining Ancient Roman coins were donated to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Tuesday, April 23

  • add Precious Metals to MLB
  • read The Story of Money by Betsy Maestro

  • look at U.S. money, practice counting U.S. coins by adding up all the coins in my change jar (which turned out to be $11.11)

Thursday, April 25 - Field Trip

  • practice adding decimals using the Decimal Stamp Game
  • read Ideas about Choosing by John Maher
  • visit local small business: The Neighborhood Co-op Grocery
  • practice reading graphs (bar graph, line graph, circle graph)

Friday, April 26


  • SWI investigation of < currency >, < penny >, < dollar >

    < currency > is made up of the base < curren > + the suffix < cy >. According to etymonline this word is related to both < current > and < curriculum > and comes from the Latin currere meaning flow. It first meant the flow of ideas, and later came to mean the flow of money.

    < penny > appears to be a base and is from OE pening which is from Old High German pfenning. Pence is a plural of penny.

    < dollar > appears to also be a base and it too comes from German. Its root is tal which is a cognate with the English dal.

  • draft and add The Story of Money to MLB


Monday, April 29

  • practice subtracting decimals using the Decimal Stamp Game
  • review the stock market, explain the $10.00 commission cost for buying and selling stocks on the HTMW website
  • meet one on one with students to enter their stock portfolio picks into the computer (they each get $50,000 in virtual money to start with)

We will continue to play the stock market game until the last day of school. Students will have the opportunity each day to meet with me during recess to check on their portfolios and make more trades if desired. HTMW keeps track of the value of their virtual portfolios in real time, creates charts and graphs of their individual data, and arranges the value of everyone's portfolio on a leaderboard. The kids are really excited about this and I think everyone will enjoy the light-hearted competition!

Tuesday, April 30

  • review the stock market, explain the concept of interest for those children who are still keeping part of their $50,000 in cash
  • meet one on one with students to check on the value of their individual portfolios and make any desired changes
  • draft and add The Stock Market to MLB
  • finish Currency MLB with numbered pages, table of contents, and front and back covers

It was so interesting to see what everyone invested in. Here is the full list of the stocks they chose: KO, DIS, GOOG, AAPL, AMZN, NFLX, FB, PLAY, APC, AEE, DE, KR, MMM, INTC, NVDA, HOG, VZ, F, WMT, GME, MIK, and HLT.

Most of my students invested conservatively and chose to keep a lot of cash on hand. One child wanted to purchase shares in a company which wasn't listed and when we looked it up, we found an article from that day -- April 29, 2019 -- which explained that Beyond Meat is about to go public. It said that they expect to offer "8.75 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each. The company would raise $183.8 million at the top of that range." How exciting, and what a great opportunity for us to actually see a company go from being private to becoming publically traded. It's fun to see it happen in real time!

Today -- April 30, 2019 -- when I went to show that article to the whole class there had been an update! The article was changed to say, "increased the size of the deal on Tuesday and raised its price range, indicating a positive investor response to the deal. The company said in a regulatory filing that it plans to offer 9.5 million shares priced at $23 to $25 each. The original plan was to offer 8.75 million shares priced at $19 to $21 each. The company would raise $228 million at the midpoint of that price range."

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