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© Gail Underwood Parker

Monday, January 17, 2011

School Bell: Don't Drop Out

Many of my school bell posts have been for younger or mid-grade children.  Today I offer a very unconventional strategy to help kids understand the value of finishing high school by understanding in a more concrete way the advantages of learning, of education.  Normally I don't believe in using money to reward, or in using isolation. But... as a short-term lesson where the children can control their fate I think it can make the intangible more concrete.  Be sure you explain that the "game" is going to be for a limited time and don't just spring it on them. Give them a chance to be prepared.

Knowledge is Freedom
Adults who did not finish high school are 58% more likely to be incarcerated at some point.*

Tell your children the above and then explain that for one week the children will have to use knowledge to "earn" their evening "freedom." In this case, their freedom will be to spend time in the living room or family room with the television, play station, computer or whatever.  [Otherwise they spend the evening time in their room, cleaning, playing, reading, whatever.]  They can earn minutes by answering questions correctly.  It's up to you what to use for questions and how stingy to be with minutes....5 minutes earned for each correct answer, or 10 minutes, or even one minute per answer, depending on age, ability, etc.  For questions you can use spelling words, math facts, review questions for an upcoming test, vocabulary flash cards, history facts. If you need ideas... borrow one of their text books and ask any of the review questions at the end of chapters or units they have done... or....talk to their teacher.  If a week of this is too much, try doing it one night per week instead. Remember the idea isn't to make them angry or annoyed.... it is to have them experience the difference knowledge can make.

Knowledge is Money
Adults who finished high school earn 1.5 times as much per year as those who did not finish high school.*

Do the same thing as with knowledge and freedom, but for this allow them to earn money. Remember this is for a short time, and with small amounts of money. But do try to take them somewhere like a dollar store or similar where they can use the money for fun and immediately enjoy the "fruits" of their "knowledge." [My kiddos would choose a trip to the ice cream store most often.  Only one made the voice to save it and put it toward a longer range goal he was saving toward.]
Good luck!


*Statistics Based on: http://www.washingtonlearns.wa.gov/materials/Eicher_presentjune14.pdf
                              http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/press/cost05/education_pays_05.pdf
Image credits: flickr.com, blogs.houstonpress.com, dpsteachers.wikispaces.com

1 comment:

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