- September 20, 2017
Jeanette Schwaed, a fourth grade teacher at Fruitville Elementary School, has been teaching her gifted and advanced work classes all about the underpinnings of free enterprise and business throughout November.
But while theory is good, practice is better. Schwaed ended her teachings with a culminative group assignment — each student was tasked with designing and crafting a toy out of mainly recyclable materials.
But that was only half the project, and students then had to bring their toys into class for a Toy Store day on Nov. 18 that had them pitching and selling their creations to visiting students from other classrooms.
"I'm the type of teacher that doesn't like to box my students in," Schwaed said. "The only requirement that was to use mostly recyclable materials. I thought it would be a good way to end our lessons, to see what it really feels like."
Other teachers were given sports themed tokens — to emphasize teamwork — to give to their students so they could purchase items at the toy store. Students wrote their names on tokens and dropped them into bags on each salesperson's desk.
"We're going to try to meet the demand of what the consumers wanted," Schwaed said. "Some kids are going to make more (toys) because the demand was bigger than the supply."
Each student created a sign for their product and memorized sales pitches to let their buyers know what materials they used. Some students embraced the holiday season with Thanksgiving or Christmas-themed decorations while others went the route of making cute animal designs. Emmalyn Medvecky even created her own Dragons and Dice board game that she was excited to show off to people.
Mia Jessup created a crew of aliens with their own spacecraft that she happily offered up for sale.
"You can fly them around your room, you can do all kinds of things with them but I like putting them on my head," she said. "I love studying space and looking at stars."
The toys were delivered to the buying students on Fridays, with the Toy Store businessmen and women making more toys if there was a lack of supply to meet demand.
Greyson Bernstein ended up earning the most tokens with his "School Squishies" stress balls, which he made out of of latex balloons filled with rice. He received a million dollar chocolate paycheck for his hard work — but Schwaed notes he's going to have a bit more work ahead of him.
"(Greyson) has had huge demand, he's really going to have to get to work to meet demand because he doesn't have enough supply."