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.

Here's to the 2016 Kiva Kid Borrowers

The boys have been busy putting together business plans, filling out borrower applications, and discovering a lot about what it takes to put it all together to become proud business owners. With the help of parents and faculty members, some of our teams are well on their way to being funded in the hopes of opening up shop in the early days of February.

 

Check out our Kiva Kids Page

 

I asked the boys to reflect on how it feels to be a borrower and here are some responses:

  • As a borrower, I feel pretty good because our group has been loaned to multiple times. I also feel a bit satisfied, knowing that our group is closer to being fully funded. Being a borrower is exciting because you don't know if you are going to be fully funded, and if you aren't, then you can't start your business. I really hope people will loan to us so we can get started on selling our mesh squishy balls to the students.
  • I feel that as a borrower it is really exciting checking your loaners and how much you have because every time you are that much closer to getting your loan. The one thing that I feel is hard about being a borrower is not being able to use your loan until it fully is funded. For example I found a better deal on our product but unfortunately I couldn't get it because our loan wasn't fully funded yet. But still I can see how we shouldn't be able to because people who get loans through Kiva can't use the money until they get fully funded. The reason they are on Kiva is also because they don't have the money to buy the thing they want.
  • I am so far enjoying the experience because it feels different than being the lender. Our group has been very successful so far, and we hope to stay on track so we get our loan of $60 as soon as possible. To be a borrower, you must have patience because you have to wait for lenders to loan to you, and sometimes that takes a while. 
  • I feel good because we are getting multiple loans and I think we might be a successful business. It may take a while to achieve our full loan, but I am excited. I feel like we are relying on these kind lenders and that paying them back is our priority, but we need to think of how to make good profit while paying back our lenders, and not making mistakes to bring us down. 
  • It is kind of nerve racking thinking of what can go wrong as a borrower. I also think that the process of paying back the loan is scary because you don't know that the business is going to make enough money to pay back the loans.

 

Little Changes in the Hope of Making A Big Difference

The 6th graders have been busy working on their Kiva Advertisement project.  While I haven't had an opportunity to post, it's not because we haven't been working.  As in years past, I introduced the project with the driving question, How can we create advertisements that encourage new and existing kiva lenders to make a loan in _(blank)__ geographic area? In addition to that driving question, and inspired alongside my own grad school work on research, I decided to concentrate on the following questions:

How can we be better consumers of statistical representations?

How can we be better creators of statistical representations?

My goal for the Kiva project this year, on top of getting my students to empower many lives across the globe, is take a look at the rubrics, grading process, research components and intentionality of everything we do.  The first stop on this "Year of Change" was to recruit the help of the library team in the hopes that we could create some common language, reinforce protocols for using sources, and discuss citations. We got this and a whole lot more.

Ms Stuart visited our classroom after the launch and provided examples of advertisements that were much more similar to what we were looking for then the examples I had been able to provide in the past.  While I had never heard of Ad Council, I certainly had a good time reminiscing about some of their famous commercials, "This is drugs, this is your brain on drugs, any questions?".  To learn more about Ad Council you can watch this quick video .  Ad Council fits right into what we are trying to accomplish in our project and I am so glad Ms. Stuart introduced us.

The boys were not only engaged in the examples provided but they were also very knowledgeable abut appropriate sources, creative commons and the libraries resources.  So, I pushed them on their way to discover a little bit about Kiva and the countries they decided to focus on.  At this point, they have all had short interviews with me where they presented the statistics they are going to use to convince others and are about to begin creating.  Commercials, Infographic Posters, Brochures and more... all coming your way soon from the GARAGE! Stay tuned, we are just getting started!

Annual Reports 2015 - Celebrating Another Great Year

It's been a busy week or so in 6th grade math as the boys prepared to present their Annual Reports to peers, parents and Kiva Executives.  The boys did a great job presenting their materials, allowing the crowd to vote on a loan, and sharing their stories.  Take a moment to check out their presentations.  Consider showing your support by joining the Town School Friends and Family lending page.  

You will see their presentations hyperlinked to the company name on slide #6 here.

Excited to have another $925 in the Town School for Boys lending team to share with entrepreneurs and others around the world.  Well done Class of 2017!




Global Connections Everywhere!

It's been an exciting few weeks coming out of the garage and I am happy to share the following news from the Garage. Let's just say we are busy going global!

Kiva Council gathered Town School Swag left over from last year and set up sales. During our weekly meeting, the boys opted to make a new connection and with our profits supported an orphanage.  While our club rarely rears off course from lending, and never gives money to other organizations, we took a moment to incorporate Coiser orphanage into our recipient list.  The orphanage's goal is to create a poultry farm that allows them to be financially self sufficient.  Naming a chicken after our school? We are wishing the orphans at Coiser our best and give a big "Hello" to our new Town Garage mascot.  In addition to the $25 we used for our chicken, we raised $275 for Kiva.org.  

I always ask the boys to make loans intentional and to really consider the money, the person and the business.  Here are some of the boys thoughts:

  • Richards is the head teacher of summit primary school. It is a mixed school in a rural area of Uganda. He wants to buy a uv filtration system so his students can get and drink clean water. I believe this is important because water is a necessity in human life and water has been a necessity forever.
  • I think we should loan to Caroline. Caroline will use this loan of 350$ to help pay for her fathers health needs. She is 51 years old and lives with her parents in Barra Puntod, Lopez Jaena. I believe this will really make a difference if she can help her fathers health.
  • We definitely should loan to the Nasommor Group so they can get a water filter. Access to clean water is extremely important so people don't get sick and it is definitely necessary in places that don't always have good water.

 

6th Grade Advisory has found a new set of friends in Kenya. We hope that this is a lasting relationship and that we will eventually introduce our friends to the 1st graders of Town School when they embark on their country study of Kenya.  I was introduced to Emmily via facebook and I couldn't be happier to engage with her.  My 6th grade advisory was excited to share "A Day in the Life of Morning Meeting" with the children fro Cheery Children Education Center.  While we have noted that a skype call may be difficult with the time zone, Emmily and I decided we could send some videos exchanges back and forth, get to know one another, and take it from there. I am excited to learn more from our friends in Nairobi, Kenya.  Here is a video about lunchtime at Cheery:) 

 


If you recall, last year's 7th Grade worked on statistics using the United Nations Millennium Goals and came up with some wonderful projects.  In the end they chose to organize a "Walk for Water" during our final week and we raised $300 for Waterproject.org We just got word that our project is finished and the Coleb Primary School currently has clean safe water.  



The 5th Grade Boys spent last week learning about word problems and creating their own to share with others across the globe.  Check out what this year's group came up with!  We are always looking for partners to share problems with so please spread the word. We currently have a collection of problems that you can find here.  Look out for updates on places we discover through word problems throughout the year.


Lastly, 6th grade boys are actively discovering micro finance.  The project was launched last week with a 40 minute simulation from One Hen.  The boys used the simulation to discuss community issues that may exist in rural sub saharan Africa. It was interesting to see them address education for all, healthcare, jobs and opportunity, low incomes, lack of access to banking, and gender inequality to name a few.  All the while they were supporting one another using an informal trust group model.  Today, we had the opportunity to brainstorm how we can model micro-lending in our own community.  Check out what we came up with and discover how you can support the 6th graders upcoming entrepreneurship adventure in the days ahead. 

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Kiva Celebration 2014

Another year of lending at Town School.  School total to equate to $7773 by the end of the week.  Happy Lending!

Boys reconsider goals for products and for lending while working through a chalk talk. Everyone has voice as they write their responses and respond.

Boys reconsider goals for products and for lending while working through a chalk talk. Everyone has voice as they write their responses and respond.

Not a bad total for a school that only began lending less than 3 years ago. Here's to another year of making a difference!

The sixth grade boys of 2013-2014 at Town School for boys embraced micro lending like those before them.  Excited and nervous all the same.  They put their heads into running businesses that would further promote global education, lead them to an understanding of global citizenship and allow for them to think way beyond the doors of 2750 Jackson Street.  This experience of course had it's ups and downs.  With half the campus in another location, the boys at times struggled to keep momentum going with just upper school clientele.  But they powered through, collaborating, problem solving, empathizing, and mostly enjoying themselves along the way.  And while it wasn't perfect, is running a business ever going to be?  

From stress balls, to fat dots, to silly puddy, custom t-shirts, erasers and more... the boys held weekly sales and convinced peers to embrace the movement!

From stress balls, to fat dots, to silly puddy, custom t-shirts, erasers and more... the boys held weekly sales and convinced peers to embrace the movement!

I am proud of these boys.  I am proud of what they have accomplished.  I am proud of the money they earned for entrepreneurs around the world.  And mostly I am proud to know that each one of them has accomplished and contributed to something greater than themselves. Perhaps it's true that one sixth grade class in San Francisco, California cannot possibly solve the issue of global poverty... but then again we can try.

 

Sharing our mission with other classrooms around the world. Check out the  youtube video  from our friends:)

Sharing our mission with other classrooms around the world. Check out the youtube video from our friends:)

 

 

 

Please take the time to learn from these boys as they reflect on their experiences in a variety of ways.   Here's to another year of "kiva'ing" as we call it in the garage. $899 dollars strong for these young men!  

 

 

 

 

Here are the media components to our celebration.  Well done boys.  As a community we will have a total of $7773 in loans to kiva once I get each of you to make those loans!

Town Toys Inc.

How have we successfully or unsuccessfully simulated microfinancing?  

Infographic

Thingamajigs for Less

How has our experience with microlending changed our outlook

on poverty around the world?

Infographic

Kustom Clothes for Kiva

What is the hardest part of being in a business?

Infographic

Novelty Toys

Who’s lives have we changed through Kiva.org and how?

Infographic

GTS Aerial Products

How can we encourage other students to be good global citizens?

Infographic

Tiger Swag

What did we learn about being both a borrower and lender using microfinance?

Infographic


 

 

 

 

 

Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Equation Writing: Connecting Algebra to Kiva Project

While math is everywhere in our micro lending project, it's a this point in the year that I am really excited to work through equation writing, solving multi-step equations, proportions, ratios and percent increase and decrease. This is some of the material that I find it so easy to connect to our project and it challenges the boys in new and exciting ways. Every year I create new problems using the financials of the companies within the class.  During the next few weeks I hope to share through "Stories from the Garage" some of the ways I use our project to help teach these math skills and empathy as we use these math skills to explore what other places in the world look like.  

Todays lesson is to introduce simple equation writing and solving.  See it here.