The Bridge of the Golden Wood was selected by the State of Vermont for primary school financial literacy curriculum (careers, business, & money management). See below for gardening tips based on GROW, and lesson plans/activities for writing, vocabulary, history, geography (see free books), art, and food (recipes below).
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity - Albert Einstein
These first career/money lesson plans are intended to inspire young entrepreneurs, teach children how money is earned, and provide resources for educators and parents for teaching financial concepts. Some steps may not be suitable for someone your age (run all plans by an adult). Be sure to see local and country laws. Nothing herein is intended to be investment or legal advice.
Former recruiter & business owner Karl Beckstrand has included tips his Careers for Kids picture book series: (Bright Star, Night Star: An Astronomy Story, Ma MacDonald Flees the Farm, The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living; Great Cape o' Colors - Capa de colores with pronunciation guide) --each written in dyslexic-friendly font.
Problems & Opportunity - Trouble or Treasure?
Problems/needs are opportunities to help and can lead to income. Consider the problem the fish had in The Bridge of the Golden Wood. To some people, the request for help might have appeared to only be a bother. But the boy saw a chance to gain AND show his abilities. Even when he couldn't see how he might be rewarded, he took time to help.
What did the boy do that helped him to find treasure? (He found a solution for those who had problems—and other people found it valuable.) How might you find treasure in trouble? See opportunity in every obstacle!
Do you improve your skills or get new ideas when you help with a problem? What if you see a need, fill it, but don’t get paid? How do you feel helping someone? Pretty good, huh? (Sometimes people pay with things or via service.) Even without pay, you gain the reputation of a worker, an idea source, or a problem solver—plus you get experience that makes you more valuable to future customers (you may get ideas for products/services that could earn money in the future). People remember problem solvers.
The only guarantee of success is what you guarantee yourself through your imagination, effort, and persistence.
WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE
Work for a friend, family member, or company—or provide a specific service to many people/clients as a contractor (some work requires a license and/or permits). As you get older and wiser, your opportunities to earn money increase. There is ALWAYS work to be found or something that needs fixing/improving. Perhaps the only job you see is not the kind of work you prefer; consider taking it to gain experience, meet new people, and learn of other opportunities.
Paper route, walk/groom pets, run errands, child care, wash & detail cars, clean houses, move furniture, chop wood, repair bikes. Some things—like mowing lawns/landscaping, raking leaves, or shoveling snow—are seasonal and can replace other seasonal activities.
TIP: If a company you want to work for isn’t hiring, consider volunteering there. You can gain experience and the company will see what a good worker are.
What You Get When You Give What if they hire you to do menial labor? Do it cheerfully if there’s an opportunity higher up to work toward. Even in a paid role, you should not be aloof of any labor—or anyone in the organization--regardless of role/pay differences. Dress according to organization norms (it's better to be overdressed than dressed down--anywhere). Work hard (but don't sacrifice family life). Show an interest in the bottom line (growing company revenue) regardless of your connection to sales. Be creative and flexible. Be positive. Be honest. Be kind. Such traits are often valued and rewarded with greater responsibility.
To get/keep a good job and win positions of greater responsibility and pay, get all the education you can, and try many things to discover what interests you and what you may be good at. Remember, skill requires much practice. Having a clear idea of what you want to do doesn’t mean you are qualified to do it. Get as much general work experience as you can (offering service not only gives you experience and a good reputation, it will help your social skills; working well with other people is a valuable ability). Never stop learning—about your job, your organization, and your industry! Knowledge and experience make you valuable. With education and some experience, you can eventually apply for work in an organization that does what you love.
START A BUSINESS OR FRANCHISE
Solve a problem/provide goods or services that meet people’s needs. Seek expert input. For best results, continue to study business, computers, spelling, grammar, math, speaking, marketing, business law—and the industries that interest you. Never sell something that isn’t yours unless you have permission from the owners to do so (even art and ideas). As your business grows, hire a team of hardworking people (especially those with skills you don’t possess). Always plan your work; write specific goals and steps! Be creative. Go where prospective customers are. Do good work. Be helpful—even if there seems to be no reward. Find partners with integrity. Budget your time and money. Keep your word. Be positive. Make decisions based on the best facts available. Constantly improve. Take care of your health. Be honest. Be Kind.
Build web sites, sell products or services online, review/rate organizations, clean homes/offices, build things/buildings, promote other people’s products/services, connect like-minded people (create an association/newsletter/conference), invent a life-simplifying product, create an app that tracks spending or caloric intake or gives other information, transport people/things, teach other people to do something that you have done.
The best place to find customers is among people you know. Even if your product or service is for a specialized audience (e.g., science teachers), your friends and family likely can refer you to people in that niche. Of course, organizations (the National Science Teachers Association, for example) are a logical first resource for reaching your target market. Find such groups online, on social media, and in your community. Inquire in neighborhood circles! Make a list of everyone you know—leave no one out. Include any contact information you have for them. Email or call them and ask whether they know a science teacher (or whatever your target audience is). In explaining your product or service, you may find that friends and family have interest as well.
A Checklist of Things You Might Do If You Start Your Own Business
TIP: Be sure you can trust the people you work for and with. Signed agreements can help you avoid some conflicts.
When life gives you lemons, apply for a food service license and a sales tax license and make lemonade. - Will Spencer
Money Making Ideas
Create, collect, grow, clean, fix, or repurpose something—and sell it. Recycle for cash. Rent things to people who need them. Trade things for something more valuable to you. Sell/give something extra you can spare. Sell other people’s product to earn a percentage. Perform/entertain. Publish a book/ebook, then share information. Share your opinion for a reward. Transport things for compensation.
Cupcakes, an app, a shoe rack, soap, kites, bicycles, windows, furniture, appliances, tools, stamps, coins, books, games, antiques, wood, fruit, photographs, paintings, music, fonts, crafts, watermelon, lavender, nuts, sheep, pets, metal, glass, plastic, recyclables, electronics, paper, clothes, property, vehicles, ad space, electronics, toys, collectibles, gadgets, candles, cookies, magazines, ad space; Sing/dance/act/play a musical instrument, do magic, teach classes, speak to groups, write a blog or a newsletter, share information via video/audio/Web, surveys, polls, focus groups, studies, mystery shop
Consider making a list of chores to do at home each week. Your mom or dad may be willing to give you suggestions and possibly pay you as you gain experience and responsibility for things around the house. This will not only give you skills, but will provide you an opportunity to budget and manage money.
To manage your money—so that it doesn’t run out before your needs/wants do—don’t spend more than you earn. MAKE A BUDGET so you can track income vs. expenses and put what’s really important first (you may think the latest video game is the priority, but if you don’t have enough money to pay the power bill, the game won’t be much use!). SAVE for emergency needs, education, a home, and/or retirement. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 10% of your income. Consider allocating some of your income to people in need regularly.
For information/lesson plans on careers, business, finding customers, managing money & moving up in an organization, see The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living. Parents: Help your kids gain an entrepreneurial vision; go over this book’s ideas (and those here) with them. Help them discover their own interests and abilities and then focus them for success.
LEARN & EARN: Education can make a great difference in your earnings; it doesn’t have to be a college degree; consider trade schools, self study, and apprenticeships. Some companies will train you. (Travel brings learning!) Each person has gifts that need to be discovered to help others and self. With practice, something you thought you were bad at may become your greatest ability.
Pennies don't fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth. - Margaret Thatcher
See also: https://www.kellysclassroomonline.com/2020/10/great-cape-of-colors.html, http://kidpreneurs.org, The Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting and Running a Business: Turn Your Ideas into Money, www.entrepreneur.com/article/286974
OTHER LESSONS IDEAS
A GOOD STORY Talk about the structure of a good story: The BEGINNING--where people, problems, and places are introduced; MIDDLE: Where the problem becomes intense; END: the outcome/results. Ask: "HOW are the characters different (by the end) as a result of the problem and their own choices? Ask students to name a favorite book or movie; have them identify the big problem; how was/were the character(s) different by the end? What choices combined with the problem to cause the outcome? (A good story may not always have a happy ending, but there is always a connection between the outcome and the character’s choices).
STOP A STORY While reading any story, stop at the climax and ask students, “WHAT do you think the character(s) will do next?” or “WHY do you think the character did that?” “HOW do you think s/he felt?” “WHAT do you think will happen next?” Write down how the students think the story will play out—see which ending is better!
LIFE EXPERIENCES Ask each student (age 10 & up) to write his/her life story as an essay—including any lessons they have learned (can be a single event). After you have reviewed the essays, ask the students to share them with the class (if the story has sensitive information—they can share someone else’s story, preferably that of a family member). THEN have the class write an essay on what they learned from their classmate's stories. THEN have each student interview a close relative and write his/her story—including any lessons gained—and share with the class. THEN have the class essay on what they learned from those experiences. THEN have students write an essay on a distant relative or ancestor (ask family about journals, records, genealogy. Search online: Familysearch.org) and share with the class. Finally, the class writes what they gained from these stories. HELP students become listeners—not just for info—but for understanding (and hopefully empathy).
For related lesson plans (including on biographies, histories, & geography) see:
TEN ACTIVITIES FOR HEALTHFUL LEARNING 1. Make treats together (lasagna counts as a treat!), smoothies—meals kids plan/prepare are more likely to be eaten. Let them play with it! 2. Read aloud together; those of you who’ve done this know it gets especially fun as kids get older and texts more thrilling. Find and share stories from your family’s history (look online, ask relatives) or make some up. 3. Don’t just watch a movie; pick a well-reviewed one that no one has seen, stop it half way in and have everyone write/say what they think will happen. See if your family can out-story the writer/director. 4. PLAY! Card games/board games are often more fun than video games—and make for better interaction. Better yet, get out and shoot hoops, football, or catch, tag, hide ‘n seek, collect bugs; older kids can create an obstacle course or plan a foot race/treasure hunt. 5. Drama night. Act out stories from your spiritual tradition, a one-act play, a family story, or a story written by the performers. 6. Skills Night: Learn art, swimming, survival/emergency skills, auto shop, music. 7. Wealth Night: Give each kid a quantity of cash, go to a store and comparison shop to learn budgeting, costs, and value. 8. Talent Night: Share or teach art, vocal harmony, instruments, dance steps, drama 9. Service Day: Bring treats or do yard work or other service for a single parent, an ill or widowed neighbor. 10. Even chores can be a fun activity if adults participate (and there’s a known reward). Have a competition to see if child can pick up all clothes before adult/other child can pick up all toys (or trash). Do it to music. Prize need not be big (consider an outing with parent for a special job). See also: https://www.kellysclassroomonline.com/2020/10/it-came-from-under-highchair.html
GROW: How We Get Food from Our Garden - Gardening TIPS:
Plants want soil, nutrients, sun, and water (the amounts vary depending on the plant). They also need the right temperatures (seasons) and climate for the kind of plant they are.
Just like a human baby needs extra special care, a plant you grow from a seed is very vulnerable. If you live where the outdoor temperature might go below freezing, you’ll want to plant seeds in temporary soil containers (like egg carton divits) and keep them indoors for the first several days/weeks until it is no longer freezes outside.
Plant your seedlings in an area outside where they will get enough sunlight. Perhaps the hardest part of gardening is knowing how much water a plant needs; too much or too little can kill a plant. Find out how much sun and water your plants need.
You’ll want to keep an eye on your plants and take steps to ensure that pests (some bugs and animals) and weeds don’t kill them. Some bugs, like bees and butterflies, are good for your plants. Happy gardening!
More lessons on gardening & vocabulary: https://www.kellysclassroomonline.com/2020/09/grow-karl-beckstrand.html
CHEWY BANANA COOKIES
3 ripe bananas (medium size)
2 cups rolled oats (180 g)
¾ cup butter/coconut oil (180 mL)
1 cup dates/raisins, pitted & chopped (120 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)
¼ tsp salt (1.25 g)
½ tsp cinnamon (2.5 g)
¼ tsp cloves and/or nutmeg (1.25 g. optional)
¼ cup nuts (30 g. optional)
Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C). Mash the
Bananas in a bowl with a mixer or a fork, then mix
in other ingredients. Drop by tablespoon amounts onto a
greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until
lightly brown (makes 24 cookies).
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon (can also use nutmeg with allspice)
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
½ cup pecan halves (optional)
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar and spice(s) and stir until sugar dissolves. As the mixtures comes to a simmer, add bananas and cook for at least 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning the sauce over bananas as they cook. When the sauce is syrupy, stir in orange zest. Spoon or pour immediately over ice cream, waffles, crepes, or banana bread.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups mashed bananas
1 cup chopped black walnuts
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 pound butter, softened
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Other learning sites:
FREE Curricula: https://www.goodandbeautiful.com/pre-k-8-curriculum/