The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

When I Was a Principle in Portland Oregon

on September 2, 2019

When I was a school principal my greatest pleasure was helping teachers implement their ideas for school improvement. The first suggestion I remember receiving came from a teacher who wanted to create a school store in an empty classroom. It would be a place where children could sell items they had made to other students and their teachers.

Her plan was that the store would open for business only one day a week during the noon hour. Students would line up in the hallway outside until there was room enough for them to enter the shop and look around inside.

The new store had two tables displaying the products students had made. One student guided the students who wanted to shop, and another one stood ready to take money for the items selected. In addition, the teacher who created the store was on hand to assist if any problems occurred.

All the items for sale had been created by students at home and approved by their teachers at school. The most popular ones turned out to be greeting cards, wooden games, decorative magnets, sculptured jewelry, embroidered handkerchiefs, and painted stones because most shoppers were more interested in decorative items than useful ones.

When the store closed for the day, the workers and the teacher counted the money received, and brought it to the school office. Later those funds were given to the students who made the items sold. There were small differences in how much students received, based on the size and quality of their products.

A good school project like this one is a positive addition to any school and should be allowed. Although strong classroom teaching is the most important element of a school, an additional program outside the classroom that is fun– and educational– is also of great value.

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