Celebrating and Reflecting -2017 Kiva Kids

What reflective boys we have! We might not have had enough hours in the day to fully prepare for our Kiva Celebration and the boys were fairly bummed that they had left a few things out of their presentations, spoke to the floor or wall more than to the community and some even said I could have rehearsed a bit more on my own.  But when I asked what they wanted to do about it, they suggested that they take our final two math periods to fix their slides and make them "A" quality work.  

We are often harder on ourselves than others are on us.  That said, I too made a mistake by leaving one students videos out of our final collection.  I guess June can get crazy around here and we all need to reflect on how we can do things just a bit better next time. 

Enjoy the presentations from this years Annual Celebration. Enjoy our updated video. Enjoy looking through the Tackk's that show reflections from the experience too!

Kiva Celebration 2017


Bouncy Ballers


Balloon a Palooza

Prestige Worldwide

SCZ Inc.

WEZ Putty

Raffle Castle




Anderson Kiva Kids Reflection https://tackk.com/6z3jlu

George The Long and Winding Rode https://tackk.com/d4gyvm

Jack Raffle Castle Makes History! https://tackk.com/huxk2f

Vivek lhttps://tackk.com/k0xmx9

Thomas' Experience in The Bouncy Ballers https://tackk.com/44v6jh

Peter Stovellhttps://tackk.com/u8xgnm

Pearce https://tackk.com/zd1xlv

Rob RRJL is in business!https://tackk.com/25g2yp

Theo Winning with prestige worldwide https://tackk.com/auev4z

Zachary M Zachary's kiva tales https://tackk.com/egpy20

Zachary L Kiva Kids at Town School https://tackk.com/ehftua

Callen Kiva Kids at Town School for Boyshttps://tackk.com/vpmnny

Ryan Prestige over comes some Worldwide problems https://tackk.com/xgfhl4

Sean Kiva and More https://tackk.com/ke8v82

Liam RRJL avoids micro finance crisis https://tackk.com/jv45yd

EliThe Kiva Tales https://tackk.com/hx0kkc

Wynant All About Kiva Kids https://tackk.com/vn7yuq

Alex The Kiva Experience https://tackk.com/9dec9a

Stephen Balloon-A-Palooza is "Blowing Up!"https://tackk.com/77ea0y

WilliamBalloon-A-Palooza is Unpopable! Well, Sort of. https://tackk.com/b2t0vy

RomanRRJL'S Next Task https://tackk.com/dkbdjs

Nicholas (Nico)Kiva Kids https://tackk.com/xgd87z

JacksonScheer https://tackk.com/ec54dc

Thomas The Chronicles of the Raffle Castlehttps://tackk.com/h1km40

NoahBalloon a Palooza coming out of thin air https://tackk.com/eb1xwg

HaydenThe Journey https://tackk.com/feeblb

How Could I Say No?

With all the craze in fidget spinning I found it hard to say no. Sure, I put up the sign in my classroom that read "At Your Own Risk" and asked boys to put them away. I also read articles from many perspectives about these "toys".  Should we encourage the madness, discourage the craze, be more sensitive to those who need these to stay focussed, ban them from our classrooms? 

I didn't know the answer.  What I did know is that I had 20 or so 6th graders saying, "We need custom spinners for our Kiva Project".  We set up a circle graph of which the different companies, who were now fully paid back, could buy into this new concept/idea if they had enough money to do so.  They contacted a company to see if "backordered til late May" really meant that or could we get our hands on a few.  Then we looked into buying options, coupon codes and applied our new knowledge about algebraic equations to figure out what we could afford 100? 150? 200? More?

With a $50 coupon, if you spent $500 the boys would get a $50 off coupon.  So, we set up their algebraic equation for the $2.45 unit price spinners with a $50 set up fee.  $2.45x + 50 = 500.  Soon we were talking about purchasing 185 spinners for the same cost as 171.  The unit price went down from $2.54 all inclusive from $2.74 too.  

And it happened...  6 out of 8 groups pooled together $470 to buy 185 fidget spinners with the hopes of doubling their money.  We waited, and stressed, will they arrive? And guess what? They did!!! And, even the Assistant Head of School was purchasing them!! And we did double our money:) 

Assistant Head of School buys fidget spinner!!

Launching It's A Livable Life

Been spending the week setting the stage for a great math project and some hard core number crunching in the garage.  While I have been running the Minimum Wage Project for many years, I had reasons to delay the project this year and an internal struggle about how to make sure it includes some very intentional work with decimals and percents. I am excited about the direction it is going in just the few days we have engaged.  We began with an abbreviated version of the socioeconomic class simulation I created years back and currently diving into what it means to live a life of dignity.  While we will start by looking a life through min wage to create a "base" pay and assess cost of living, the boys will eventually look at housing costs as the driver of their monthly budget and utilize percents to come up with a proposed "livable wage" for our home in San Francisco and beyond!  


Day 1: Amenities Challenge and Hunger 101

Day 2:; Amenities Challenge Part 2

Day 3: Warm Up On Multiplying What does Min Wage Mean? and Min Wage Warm Up

Day 4: Finish Min Wage Warm Up and 4 Question Formative Assessment (Check in one Decimal Comps) 

Day 5: Driving Question, How do we ensure a livable wage?  (Define Living with Dignity)

Days 6: Begin baseline wage (min wage) computations.

Brainstorm "what's a livable life".

Brainstorm "what's a livable life".

Every Year We Have "Firsts"

One of the most exciting parts of the year is when a company has enough money in their account to make their first loan. On Friday, while some of the groups were ordering product and  others were writing thank you cards, two groups decided that they had enough money to invest. The new scratch map, with hidden colors underneath, was an exciting new addition to the program.  

Angel from Colombia

Las Rosas De Pachali Group from Guatemala

Stay tuned for more loans, reflection and fun.  We are only getting started!  

Sales, Reflection and Fun!

The garage is hopping! Sales have started and their is excitement in the building. Alongside the enthusiasm for making money in the hopes of changing lives, we have been reflecting on our experiences and considering how we are developing global competence through this project.  

As part of my professional growth project this year, I am having the boys use tackk.com to write about their journey. When asked what they thought of this aspect of the project they offered the following:

  • A way to reflect and intentionally think about what we are doing.  
  • A place to go back to and relive our journey. 
  • Something to share with our parents and other friends.
  • An opportunity to see how our friends view the project and experience similarly and differently. 
  • Fascinating to see the multiple perspectives.

We have only gotten started on these blogs and if you have feedback or suggestions for posts please do offer them.  Also feel free to comment on the boy's tackks themselves.  They would love to hear from you. 

The waiting begins...

The boys have created their business plans, filled out loan applications and they are currently waiting to be funded so that they can start their business.  I love these few weeks of waiting as the boys begin to understand what it would be like to be waiting for a loan on Kiva.org.  When asked, "How do you feel as you are waiting for your loan? How do you think this relates to people on kiva doing the same thing?" I got many replies.  But in the end, this one really spoke to me.  



Kiva Advertisements 2016

Welcome to our Kiva Advertisement Viewing Post.  We will be utilizing the advertisements to launch a Thanksgiving lending party where each boy will be able to make a loan. Reflections of the party will be posted in the days to come.  This year, I allowed the boys to choose anywhere in the world (where kiva.org works) that they wanted to investigate and here is what we came up with.  Enjoy the show!  (and feel free to vote as well - you can find the form here)





Sierra Leone



Costa Rica


Are you convinced?  The boys would love you to decide which one you think hit the criteria they determined best. Vote using this form.  1) Most knowledgeable 2) Most Convincing 3) Most personal and clear. 

  • Do you understand what Kiva.org is?
  • Is it personal?
  • Does it make you feel you can help?
  • Is it simple enough to understand?
  • Do you come out knowing you will likely get your money back?
  • Are the statistics/charts clear?

Let's Not Hate.

I will begin by saying this post is not political.  But, if we can learn something from the last few days and grow together, that wouldn't be all bad.

This morning during morning meeting the boys were asked to check in to the question, when is it hard for you to feel empathy or support for someone? I was somewhat surprised as I saw many of them sign in using the word "hate"? Examples) "when I hate somebody", "Somebody I hate". One of the boys then asked me, "Ms Goggin, do you hate anyone?" I took a moment to quickly bring myself back to my 6th grade self before answering this question.  While I recall great friendships and fun in middle school, I do recall the day to day drama and unkind behaviors that were present at good ole Dartmouth Middle.  I recall being "in love" with someone one day and thinking they were "such a jerk" the next.  I recall the revolving door of friendships too.  I am not sure if I truly hated anyone then, but certainly I had dislike at times for people. But now?  

After placing myself in their shoes and weighing out what hate likely means to them, I responded to my students explaining that I in fact don't hate anyone.  They of course challenged me and said I had to answer that way.  Yes, their are times we have to tell a white lie or two, but honestly?  I couldn't think of anyone in my mind that I feel that strongly about.  In fact, I can't think of that many people in this world I even dislike.  I went on to explain to my 12 year old friends that over time I have learned to release this kind of energy from my life relationships. That I part from relations that cause too much strain or pain.  I also told them that it is important that when someone acts a way that is hurtful or unkind to consider the why.  Is something else going on in their life that is causing them to act in way that is uncharacteristic?  Is the reason they are acting this way because they don't know better? 

Before I knew it I was sharing with them the story of Amanda Lindhout, who I had the pleasure of hearing speak at IBSC Conference this summer.  While I have yet to read her book, A House in the Sky, she spoke about the book and her story in length during her keynote address. Sharing her experiences during her 15 months in captivity and her journey to forgiveness as she cannot bear to live with the hate.  The boys connected this story to what they know of Nelson Mandela in the end.  It was a pretty powerful 20 minutes. 




A Visit From Kiva

The boys have officially begun their journey into microfinance here in the garage.  We have spent a few days learning what it means to be in the world of advertising and a few other days investigating "what is Kiva?" and "how do we sell it alongside learning statistics?.  We  have started to examine the question: How can we as members of Goggin Advertising create ads for Kiva tat convince new and existing lenders to make a loan to ______________?  

The boys are exploring this unit with the guiding questions:

How can we be better consumers of statistical representations?

How can we be better creators of statistical representation? 

In the early stages of their planning, I decided to incorporate a few people who could offer advice and information.  Ms. Stuart visited to talk to the boys about copyright and then we had a visit from Jessica Hansen at Kiva to answer some of their questions.  My favorite question?



What's your favorite part of working for Kiva?

"I believe in what they do.  I love that I work for a company that changed their mindset about working with people in poverty and focusses more on helping them help themselves." 





The boys are so thankful for Jessica's time. They wrote some messages to her.  

I think it was very helpful to get to talk to someone who works at Kiva. We all had a lot of questions and it was nice to have someone who could answer all of them. It was interesting to hear why they enjoyed working for Kiva. It was also interesting to hear that the micro-financing institutions get to choose whether or not they pay interest, and I wonder what percent do. - Eli

I thought that Jess coming was really cool because we got to talk to someone who works at Kiva which alone is amazing. She answered a whole Buch of questions and it was nice to fill up my mind with knowledge. I hope that she or someone else can come back. -Jackson

I thought Jess coming was very helpful, informative, and cool because I learned so much and I will more than definitely use that information when I make my ad. Jess was so nice to come to our school and inform us about Kiva and its impact on the world and answer our questions, and really saved us time on our ads as well as saving us a lot of research. One huge takeaway I had is that Kiva really impacts people's lives and the communities around them. After that lesson I'm even more psyched to be working with Kiva. - Nico

I thought a big take away from today was how kIva was like a family they now everyone there working with each other .i also thought another big part was that the Kira employees really have seen the success kivas makes and they believe in kiva with all there heart. I also liked having Jesse their and having some of my question answered.i also loved hearing about how kiva has supported many family's and have put there kids in a good education. - Theo

Stay tuned for more to come... it's going to be a great year!

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" -Lao Tzu

Gender Equity #worldslargestlesson

With the help of Emma Watson, and World's Largest Lesson, the 6th grade boys looked into Gender Equity issues for a few days in math class.  After learning a little bit about what the Global Goals are in advisory, the boys took a two day deep dive into Gender Equity.  The conversation was thoughtful and engaging and full of multiple perspectives.  I am always impressed with how much 12 year olds KNOW on one hand and how little they KNOW on the other.  This is going to be a fun year for sure:)

More engaging conversation into gender equity to come through the lens of poverty as we embrace micro finance and poverty in the days and months to come. Stay tuned! But for now, check out my lesson slides, World's Largest Lesson website and the results of our survey as seen in the graph below.  We also computed mean, median and modes and talking about statistical questions to be explored in our our future. 

Looking for Global Partners Early and Hard - We Have Empty Seats:)

With Global Collaboration Day here I decided to try and find some global collaborators for a project we have been doing in the garage for a few years.  How fun is it to write non-fiction word problems about where we live and share them with others?  

If you are a educators, please visit my collaborative slideshow. Consider adding a problem you create yourself that we may use in the classroom and then think about how you see this fit into your classroom.  I have learned not to come to the table fixated on the details of projects and have made changes along the way.

Don't like the media- Let's change it!

Want to add math talks with the problems? -Sure.

Math Mystery Skypes to launch? - In.

No time for anything crazy but see value in the basics- Works for me!

Feel free to take a look around my site to see other ways we can collaborate on global projects.  I am openminded and ready to work together.  

Prime Time (#19) Where did the years go?

Disco Friday Kick Off - It's going to be a good one.

Disco Friday Kick Off - It's going to be a good one.

It's been a busy school year thus far and so in between getting ready (with a new "organized" and "adult" looking teacher desk space), trying on a new math program, and grad school assignments that keep piling on, I haven't had a chance to reflect, embrace and officially blog my "hello" to what is bound to be another great year.  #19!! Where did the years go? 

I thought I would take an opportunity for the first time ever to reflect on the first few days of school in a different way.  Sure, they are exciting. New schedules, new students, new smiles, new energy. But all of this requires a level of energy teachers likely haven't tapped into for months. Some of us had an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate more than others, but finding the energy to be 110% every moment of the first few weeks is difficult.  

Yet in those moments when you can't imagine having to repeat something which feels so obvious for the 1 millionth time in 7 days of classes you find something that keeps you going.  For me, it was this group conversation. 

Me: "So boys, I want to share with you my homework policy.  To begin, you have received a 100% on last night's homework because it appears to me you have all given the assignment a good shot and have completed every question"

Boy: "So what your saying is no matter if they are right or wrong I get a 100%?"

Me: "Yes, as long as it is here by the beginning of the class period and you include all necessary work"

The excitement in the air was clear.  I crossed my fingers and hoped we could move on, as I asked "Are their any questions?" (of course their are-duh!)

Boy: "Why do you grade homework this way?"

Me: "Well I am aware that many of you have different home lives and levels of support for homework. My intent is that we all try our best, use the resources we have and then come in and ask questions about what was confusing.  In the end, I just want everyone to try their best and then use it as a learning too." I went on to describe that some students get their work corrected at home with a chance to redo and therefore them earning a 100% while another hardworking students who doesn't get their papers corrected by parents or tutors before class and earns a lower grade doesn't seem fair.  

They seemed to agree.  Again, I crossed my fingers.  The conversation went on with a few confirming questions and then it came..

Boy:  "So can't I just kind of fake it, put down some numbers and hand it in and claim I don't understand?"

As I was about to explain (for the 19th year in a row) that it would be a waste of time, that you wouldn't learn anything that way, that in fact it was just turn into required extra help or academic discipline issues, the boy (that appeared in prior days to be least likely to say the right thing at this moment) raised his hand.  I took a chance...(that's is what teaching is about).  

Boy:  "Seems like an awful waste of time, we are supposed to do homework to get something out of it."

And while I was quite positive their could be a dozen more what if's and questions... I left it at that.  With the hope that the leadership of this young boy prevails in the weeks to come and that this year we learn and do simply because we want to get something out of it.  

Good Luck to all who are starting teaching for the first time and to those of us who despite our tenure have an easy time forgetting over the months how hard these first few weeks are.  And for those of you not in teaching but are connected to teachers... be patient with us in September, it's a hard month!




International Boys School Coalition

What an exciting first trip to Vancouver, BC. If you missed my presentation today, you can find it here.   Please feel free to reach out with more questions about how to incorporate Kiva.org into your school or classroom.  To hear more about PBL and Global Competence with this project, you can learn more here too! Enjoy and keep in touch.


Celebration of Learning Kiva Kids 2016

Each year I continue to be amazed by what the boys accomplish at Town School for Boys in conjunction with Kiva.org.  This year, in addition to raising approximately $1665 in new funds (equating to 64 loans and a $65 donation), we also had the opportunity to team up with 2nd and 3rd graders to teach them a little about lending and microfinance too!  Additionally, the 6th grade Core math class participated in a unit of their own making approximately $400.  

The Annual Celebration of Learning is always a wonderful opportunity to have the students share with parents and other community members what they have learned.  We also had a special treat- Bumzy's Cookies!  (Kiva Zip Borrowers from SF) Feel free to check out our overview video and dive into some of the business presentations too.  More lending to come in 2016-2017.


(Sean, Mason & John)



Squeeze Inc

(Colin, Noah, Lucas & Kitt)



Squishy Squad

(Josh, Jack, Alesso & Ben)



Hacky Town

(Alfred, Harrison, Spencer & Charlie)



Putty Putty

(William, Gordon, & Alex)



Slap Bands +

(Benjamin, Charlie, & Jackson)


It's Not Always BIG- Scientific Notation and Population

While many of the lessons I blog about are part of a larger unit/Pbl, the fact of the matter is going global in my math class is more then just that.  I try hard to connect my students with others on a regular basis.  While the study of scientific notation has natural connections to their science class, I launched my class the other day with a discussion about the world population.  Using this website, the students were able to look at population, population growth and consider population density.  

The boys started by choosing 5 countries that resonated with them. While I only had time to have them share 1 of their countries in class, they were excited to have choice and they selected places based on population, places they have visited, places they dream of visiting and heritage. It was interesting to listen to how they connected.  From there, as you can see in the worksheet, they had to find the population, round it, and place it in scientific notation.  One of their wonders, "will China's population growth change now that they have no restrictions on number of children?"  (Great opportunity to talk about statistics, and good data sets based on information over time)  

The boys seemed to be able to understand the importance of using the same base number (range 1 to less than 10) when we listed the order and it was no longer a challenge to order them.  Additionally they were able to better connect that the exponent was connected to the place value.  What an "Aha" moment we had!

After the discussion the boys moved through the real life statistics on the backside of the worksheet.  The boys had big feelings as they continued to practice scientific notation, and remarked that the stats made them sad.  They connected this to their recent water walk with 1st grade and the poverty project we did earlier this year. In the end, this 1 1/2 hour lesson allowed them to gain greater appreciation for their surroundings, and consider ways they can advocate and help others.  Their words, not mine! 


"The real world data in this lesson really helped me master it!" -Malyk

So the lessons aren't always BIG and numbers for scientific notation aren't always BIG... but I hope the impact is.  

Learning Through Teaching - And Connecting Our Community

In the past, Town School has had a wonderful club called Kiva Council that helps our community re-lend the money we have earned over the years.  However, a new schedule and less access to 7th and 8th graders made this nearly impossible this year. I struggled with how to deal with this issue for many months, feeling bad about the $1200 sitting in our account, and even worse the following month as more money was deposited.  With so many worthy borrowers on Kiva, we needed to come up with a plan.

The 2nd graders were eager to buy our product and eager to learn about Kiva.  Part of their curriculum in 2nd grade is Change Makers and this seemed like a natural connection.  So I visited the 2nd graders this Monday and taught them a little about Kiva and our school's connection to the non - profit.  Concepts covered briefly were:

  • Borrowing

  • Needs vs Wants

  • Access to Money

  • Change Makers

  • 6th Grade Businesses and their purpose

But the real fun wasn't in the meeting I had with these boys, but rather in the subsequent activity planned with the 6th graders and 2nd graders.  The 6th graders visited the 2nd grade classroom, created small groups and shared their knowledge with the 2nd graders.  Then, they made loans. Watching them work together, connect with borrowers and make hard decisions, was amazing. Here is the form we used:)

Here is how some 6th graders described the experience:

The second graders were really excited to make a loan, one of them even wanted to make a loan when he goes home. They were so excited they were trying to make more loans with me. I had a tough time splitting the time for the IPad with the second graders.

I really liked working with the 2nd graders because they were eager and wanted to make a loan. I think it was a great lesson to the 2nd graders to connect with people not only outside our school but all around the world. It was a great experience and I can't wait to do this with the 3rd graders.

I think it was a good experience working with the 2nd graders because it was something new I don't think I have done before. I also thought it was important that the 2nd graders learned about Kiva for later years when they get a little more involved. They also learned more about how they are helping the world with every product they buy and the process the money goes through. At first, my buddies were a little wild and hard to control, but after we started choosing borrowers they became easier to control because they were interested. It was very fun working with the 2nd graders and I think both grades learned a lot.

It was fun to see how the second graders chose loans and connected with the borrower. It was also fun to hear that when they went home they would ask their parents to set up an account for them. It was a lot easier than expected.

As you can see the boys learned a lot and are excited to do the same activity with 3rd graders in late April. In addition, they saw an increase in sales on Friday from 2nd graders, as boys knowledge of "why" to buy increased.  Well done!

Celebrating International Women's Day One Loan at a Time

While running businesses in math class provides a lot of valuable math and life lessons, it is important for me to continue connecting their adventures with micro-financing with the many concepts covered in their 6th grade curriculum. And sometimes these lessons appear out of nowhere...

On Friday, the boys revisited the loans they made in connection with Thanksgiving. We took some time to look at how much we had been repaid and what percent of their original loan that equated to.  This forced them to subtract (Kiva tells them how much is still invested), and compute a percent. Each of the boys computed their own statistic, essentially checking the work of Kiva, and brought it to our community meeting.  Out of 21 boys only one students loan is late in paying back.  Immediately the boys calculated if  this was in line with Kiva.org's statistics.   Pretty close 95% vs 98.4%.  We are hopeful:) 

The boys companies are doing well, and we discussed when they would likely dive into lending. One group is 100% paid back and doesn't have a goal of creating larger capital so they are ready.  While another group hopes to buy customized slap bands and needs more capital.  In sharing these observations and realizations we talked a bit about savings and then investments.  I told the boys I would be giving them each a loan in honor of Women's Day and we compared and contrasted our decision making process with the money I give them, which is part of a large portfolio (over $4000) vs their companies which are starting with earnings and a much smaller portfolio.  The boys discussed field partner risk, repayment periods and personal connections to borrowers.  

Monday and Tuesday afternoon's class began with revisiting our loans.  The boys had questions about currency loss and I let them know we would do more with currency as we approached our unit on proportions, but explained a little of this to them. Then we revisited our Thanksgiving loans and computed the mean, median, and mode of our Field Partner Ratings.  All great review! 

Discussing our first loans was a great lead in to the International Women's Day lesson I had planned.  After looking at Kiva's slideshow about the event, the boys spoke about the kinds of loans they wanted to make and got right into lending.  I asked them to think about why they were making their loans, both objectively and subjectively and made them request their loans to me using the prompts, I notice... I wonder... and I connect to...  here is what we came up with...


Benjamin writes: I notice that my person, María, is a cattle farmer in El Salvador supporting her 13 year old son's education for a bright future for him. I wonder how long it will take to pay back and what she uses her cattle for and how exactly she makes money off of it (milk or beef?). I connect because she is working for her son and to make money for her family. She is making sure her son and herself have a brighter future, and I want everyone's future to be bright.

Noah writes: I loaned to Ruth, in Kenya. I notice that she is asking for a loan for her children's tuition. I wonder if she will spend the extra money on her business. I connect, because I have an education, so I want her children to have one too. 

I notice that Grace is a mother of three kids. I respect mothers and the commitment they make for their children. I wonder if she has a husband because it does not say that in her profile. I can connect to her because I live in a family with three kids and I respect the sacrifices that my mom makes to make my and my siblings life great.

I notice that the person I loaned to is married and a mother of three which means she needs money to pay for her family but she has an education and has worked hard so now she has a stable job raising cattle. I wonder if at the start it was hard for her because she was a women. I connect that she is a women doing agriculture and in the slide we saw it said that many women do agriculture.