Open for business at Carlson

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 8, 2015

 Kane Morris, a first-grade student at Carlson Elementary School in Warren, holds up the bookmark products he sold for 25 cents each during Small Business Day on March 27.

Kane Morris, a first-grade student at Carlson Elementary School in Warren, holds up the bookmark products he sold for 25 cents each during Small Business Day on March 27.

Photo by Maria Allard

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WARREN — Danielle Martin’s cash register was ching-chinging on the afternoon of March 27 at Carlson Elementary as the volunteer mom rang up countless purchases during the school’s Small Business Day.

Small Business Day has become a once-a-year activity in which first-grade students study an economics unit, and then make and sell homemade goods to reinforce what they studied in class.

Carlson is part of Van Dyke Public Schools, and the economics component is part of the social studies curriculum. The first-grade students and their teachers, Monika Davies and Natasha Smith, set up shop inside the gym. Small Business Day gave the first-graders the opportunity to see how the economy and supply and demand work.

“This has been an amazing project. They were just excited to do it and (get a) sense of the community,” said Martin, whose daughter, Gianna Girgenti, was among the savvy business students selling products. “It’s also teaching them how to use money.”

“This is our fourth year doing it,” said Davies, adding that the students studied needs, wants, goods, services, consumers and more in class. “They’re learning about the terms. They get an understanding. We’re kind of putting all of our economic terms into practice.”

The students were then encouraged to use recycled items from home to make products to sell on Small Business Day. The first-graders came up with bookmarks, frames, Easter decorations, necklaces, bracelets, keychains, pet rocks, cookies, Matchbox cars and more. Each item cost 25 cents each.

“We all kind of worked together to make this go on,” Smith said.

“We get to see it come alive. It takes on more meaning for them,” Davies said. “They understand what they did and how they did it. They’ve been so excited. They were excited to be the sellers and show off all their goods.”

“I liked it when you get to pick anything you want,” said first-grader Daviyon Knight, who sold miniature cars.

During the afternoon, students came down by grade to shop.

Davies said the students will write a follow-up on the activity. Small Business Day proceeds will be used to cover busing costs for the first-graders’ upcoming field trip to the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak.

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