The Financial Literacy Blog : AllowanceTree.com
Classroom Financial Literacy Program on AllowanceTree.com
On AllowanceTree.com, students receive and manage their weekly virtual money income over the course of a quarter, semester or year. They can budget, save, earn interest, donate to charity, invest and diversify their investments. In the Grades Stock Market, students can buy and sell “shares” in their classes (or in just your class), and the share prices depend on their grades. If their grades go up, so do their share prices, and they can sell their shares at a profit. They therefore not only learn about the stock market, but are also encouraged to do better in your class. Students can also learn to avoid debt by taking out loans with negotiated minimum monthly payments and interest rates, and each student has their own credit score.
Students earn points, badges, and increasing rank as they manage their money. At the end of the year (or term), recognition or prizes can be given to the students who manage their money the best. Class credit or grades can be given for how well they perform in the Program, at the teacher’s discretion. (This grade can be based on the points & rank they attain during the program.)
AllowanceTree is designed for children ages 8-16, and their parents.
If you would like help setting up the program, contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-230-3293) and we will be happy to assist you.
You will sign up on AllowanceTree as a “parent” and you will add the students in your class as your “children.” You will give each student the same virtual money income every week, and their goal is to manage it well and see who can build the most successful portfolio over the course of the semester (or school year).
Feel free to browse the site by visiting www.AllowanceTree.com and clicking on the “Demo It” button. Although AllowanceTree is usually used between parents and children as a virtual online family bank that represents the child’s real allowance money, below you will find a step-by-step guide for setting up and using AllowanceTree.com as a Financial Literacy Program in your classroom or homeroom (using virtual money).
A. Notify Parents:
Based on your school’s protocols, you may need to obtain the necessary permission from parents to use their child’s email address, since the program automatically sends email notifications to report on tasks and milestones.
B. SignUp: (5-15 mins, depending on how many students you have in the class)
B1. Email email@example.com to request your teacher promo code. (Please put Teacher Promo Code in the subject box.) This will enable you to use the full range of functionality with your class at no cost.
B2. Visit http://AllowanceTree.com and click “Sign Up.”
B3. Select “Parents” from the top drop-down menu, and enter your information.
B4. Select “Go Full” on the package options page, and on the following payment page, click on the promo code link beside the PayPal button and enter your promo code.
B5. Enter each student in your class as a “child”, along with their email address. (Do not worry about using an accurate date of birth for each student.)
B6. Enter the weekly income (“Allowance”) that each student will receive (in virtual online dollars).
B7. Each of your students will receive an email with a link for them to follow in order to activate their accounts. Once activated, they can begin managing their virtual money.
C. SetUp: (10-30 mins, and only needs to be done once.)
Once you are signed up, you will need to set up:
The interface your students will use to manage their money looks like this:
C1. Switch Savings interest ON for each of your students by visiting your Settings Tab and clicking on the Savings sub-tab (http://www.allowancetree.com/settings_savings).
C2. Set up your Grades Stock Market by visiting your Settings Tab and clicking on the Grades sub-tab (http://www.allowancetree.com/settings_grades).
C3. Students can invest in precious metals with their virtual money.
C4. Use the Chores module (http://www.allowancetree.com/settings_chores ) to assign tasks to your students that can earn them bonus income or decrease their income, based on their performance.
C5. Students can donate to charity on AllowanceTree, and they earn bonus points when they do.
C6. Students can apply for a Loan and must negotiate the minimum monthly payment and interest rate, and maintain a good credit score.
C7. Points & Badges are given for actions that represent good money management, so earning more points should be part of each student’s strategy.
C8. You are free to award prizes or incentives to the students who manage their money the best over the course of the program.
C9. If you have any questions, no matter how small, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as quickly as possible.
D. Regular Maintenance:
What will your time commitment be? What will you have to do (and how often) in order to run this program? The discretion is yours. We recommend updating grades and interest rates at least once a week.
D1. When students Rank-up, you should update their Savings interest rate according to the Interest Chart on the Savings Tab. Ideally, do this when the rank changes, but you can also do it once a week.
D2. Grades Stock Market: Ideally, update grades as soon as they become available, but you can also do it weekly. The more often you update grades, the more “movement” the shares in the market will have, which will improve the quality of the experience and student engagement.
D3. Once you have completed the set-up, your only maintenance will be updating the grades and interest rates on a weekly basis. This should not take more than 10-15 minutes each week.
D4. You will receive email notifications whenever your students take a meaningful action, but most of these will either not require any action to be taken on your part. If they do require an action, it will usually be a simple link on which to one-click.
E. Directions For Students:
As you begin the program, let students know what it is about, what it will involve, and what the goal is.
E1. Manage Your Money: The goal is for students to have a regular virtual income, as well as online financial autonomy so they can manage their money and learn how to make wise money choices.
E2. Earn Points, Badges & Rank: Everything they do that represents good money management will earn them points and/or badges. As their points go up, so does their rank, which earns them better interest rates so they can make more money quicker.
E3. Strategize & Budget: Each student should think about budgeting their money between Savings, Investments, and Charity in such a way that grows their money (and points) most effectively. There are several approaches to this:
F. Discussions & Lesson Plans:
F1. The AllowanceTree Financial Literacy Program allows many opportunities for discussion on a broad range of topics surrounding financial literacy and Math, as well as essential life skills and real-world financial situations.
F2. Lesson Plans will be coming soon. If you are interested in specific topics or lesson plans, feel free to email us the suggestion. You may also develop your own, and if you do, we would appreciate if you would share them with us.
Use (or customize) the following text to notify parents that the program will be running in the class, and that it will include the use of their child’s email address.
We will be running a Financial Literacy Program during the year in our classroom using www.AllowanceTree.com. AllowanceTree.com teaches kids healthy money habits on a fun, interactive platform that mirrors the real world of money in order to better prepare them to make wise money choices when they leave home.
Since it is an automated online system, it communicates with the students via email. The teacher will therefore need to enter each student’s email address. The system is a secure, closed system on which students can only interact with their teacher, and no personal information is shared.
Below, please either approve the use of your child’s email address, or if you would prefer, you may submit your own email address instead in order that your child can still receive the relevant notification via you. Without these notifications, they will not be able to keep abreast of their progress as effectively.
Please enter your child’s email address:
Or enter your email address:
Parent Signature: _____________________