SCHOOL STORE: REAL WORLD, PROJECT BASED LEARNING EXPERIENCE
During the 2015-2016 school year our second grade class put 21st century skills into practice when we planned, organized, and opened the Camas Ridge Community Store. We used our creativity and imagination to brainstorm ideas for the store. We used collaboration and teamwork skills to pull the project together. After the store was up and running we used our critical thinking and problem solving skills to refine the day-to-day running of the store. Here you will find a summary of our yearlong project.
How can we as a entrepreneurs create an inclusive and profitable school store while meeting the needs and wants of our school community?
School Store Process/Timeline
Students master basic money skills. Students obtain funding. Activities include:
Students work towards proficiency in working with money. Students must be able to identify coins & currency, count coins & currency, and make change. In addition students practice with play money in the classroom setting using a ‘pretend school store’. In our classroom this happens during math centers with an adult volunteer for supervision and guidance.
Students approach an official funding source to obtain a business loan. Our class asked our school site council to loan us $200.00 to purchase our first inventory. Students worked as a class to format an official letter. A representative group of 4 students attended an official meeting to present our proposal. In following years students will present to site council our official financial reports.
Students begin planning the store. Activities include:
Brainstorming: Students make lists of items they would like to sell at the store. Students can use websites such as Oriental Trading Company to determine inventory choices, actual cost, proposed school store price, and profit on each item. [See Form 1] The math on this form is very complex. We did much of it in small groups and as a class after students filled in the items and catalog pricing. Also the concept of ‘profit’ was difficult for the 2nd graders.
Market Research Surveys: Students create and conduct surveys to determine what the school store stock should consist of. Students survey the student body and staff to gain input. [See Form 2]
Collaborative Process: Students are divided into purchasing groups. (4-6 Students per group). Final inventory selections at our school were limited to school supplies, fidgets (small toys), healthy snacks, and arts& crafts items. Purchasing groups can use store data to determine which items are selling well and which items the group may want to discontinue.
Scheduling: Decide when your store will be open. Our class selected recess times at all grade levels twice per week. We were very busy so we ended up with 4 students working. We had two tills so we could have two lines of customers. Two students worked each till. One student handled the money and one student retrieved the items for the customer. Parent volunteers helped the 2nd grade students during each shift.
Advertising the Grand Opening: Name the store! After you have a name and a schedule for the store students create signs to advertise the grand opening. Students write verbal announcements to be read over the school intercom.
Order Inventory: Teacher orders inventory. I bought the snacks locally. I ordered the school supplies and small toys from Oriental Trading Company.
Product Display: When the inventory arrives create a poster board displaying your merchandise and pricing. [See Photos] All items in our store are $2.00 or less. Most items are under $1.00. A favorite item is purchasing 5 eraser tops for a quarter (only .05 cents each!).
Open your store! Our store was open twice per week. Activities include:
Scheduling: Each week two students work on the schedule for the following week using a class list, making sure each student has equal opportunities to work in the store. We scheduled four storekeepers each morning recess, thus 12 students worked in the store each day we were open. We were open and Wednesday and Thursday each week. [Form 3]
Inventory: Each week two students count the inventory left in the store. [Form 4] (I selected students who were still working on grouping and counting skills.) The class used this data to analyze sales trends and inventory needs. More proficient math students helped me input the inventory data into an excel spreadsheet. This is helpful in creating graphs for in class math activities. [See Photos]
Counting the Till: Each day students who need the most practice counting money were selected to count the ‘real money’ with an aid or parent volunteer. [Form 5]
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
To run an inclusive store for all students we created a donation jar for school store scholarship money. Students in need were recommended by their homeroom teacher to receive a $2.00 scholarship each month so they could make purchases at the store. We also decided as a class to use some of our profit to supplement the scholarship fund.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING YOUR OWN SCHOOL STORE, CLICK HERE TO GET THE FORMS MENTIONED IN THIS POST. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SCHOOL STORE ADVENTURE!!!
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