NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/Newschannel5) - Governor Bill Haslam and other state officials spoke at a daylong summit Thursday in Nashville for elementary school teachers wanting to teach financial literacy skills.
"It doesn't make any difference if they're rural or from the urban community, the same things apply," McKissack Middle School teacher Debra Gann said. "They still don't know the basics. Just because I have a dollar in my pocket, doesn't mean that I can spend all of that dollar."
Tennessee ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to financial literacy. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman were featured speakers at the gathering, sponsored by the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission.
"We want to teach them the basics of math and how to ultimately use it in life," Homer Pittard 4th grade teacher David Lockett explained.
The free event at the Legislative Plaza will offered teachers training that will help implement concepts such as planning, saving and investing into the curriculum.
Fourth grade teacher Liza Vaughn gives her students a glimpse into the real world by assigning them jobs and paying them with fake money called "Star Bucks."
"They can be fired," Vaughn explained. "They can use the money they earn to purchase incentives and items in the classroom."
By making it fun students don't even realize they're learning.
"They get a lot faster at keeping up and remembering how much they earned," Vaughn said, "being able to know…if I save $3 a week over this many weeks how much money and I going to have. And being able to do all of that in their head without always relying on fingers."
It's those results, state leaders want to duplicate in many more classrooms.
"I'm learning not only hands on activities but practical real world life experiences," Gann said, "which our students can relate to be able to put their mathematics, their social studies and their language arts all together."
Workshop topics included consumer protection, banking and credit.