Apr 22, 2023

15 FUN Financial Literacy Month Ideas from Teachers!

The final week of Financial Literacy Month is coming up. Here are 15 cool activity ideas that teachers shared during our recent Financial Literacy Month workshops!

Teachers everywhere have been celebrating Financial Literacy Month with NGPF! In addition to NGPF's series of Financial Literacy Month resources, events, and giveaways, we facilitated two vibrant community workshops in which teachers shared their own unique plans for Financial Literacy Month. Below are 15 of the ideas teachers shared.

Be sure to join FinLit Fanatics on facebook, and subscribe to the NGPF blog for more great ideas from fellow personal finance teachers.

1. School-wide Questions of the Day

This was the most popular idea shared by many teachers in both of the April workshops. Teachers take NGPF's money-themed Questions of the Day - either the daily releases on the blog or past favorites from the QoD library - and post them for the entire school to discuss. This application of the Question of the Day often includes broadcasting them over the intercom during daily announcements or posting them on school bulletin boards.

2. Financial Literacy Spirit Week

Shouts out to Rebecca Lenfestey takes the classic high school Spirit Week tradition and gives it a Financial Literacy flair!

  • Day 1: Twin Day (Identity Theft Protection theme)
  • Day 2: Thrift Day (Consumer Skills & Saving theme)
  • Day 3: College Day (Paying for College and Alternatives to 4-year College theme)
  • Day 3: Dress for Your Dream Job Day (Career theme)
  • Day 5: Pajama Day (Investing for Retirement theme)

What other Financial Literacy theme days can you think of?

3. Show What You Know: Whole School Edition

Shouts out to Shaye Matthews and Louise Trudeau for this Financial Literacy Month idea. Shaye and Louise each give their students a list of complex topics that they've covered in class. Students then choose the topics they want to cover, then "show what they know" on a napkin, index card, or small poster. They then post the students' creative work all around their schools to help promote Financial Literacy Month!

Want some extra inspiration for this type of project? Check out NGPF's partnership with Canva for Education, which makes creativity, collaboration and visual communication (including templates for customizable posters, infographics, PSAs, and more) easy!

4. "April Showers" Umbrella Bulletin Board

Shout out to Jill Thompson for this informative idea. The concept of risk shows up in so many areas of Personal Finance, from Managing Credit to Investing, Insurance to Consumer Skills, and more. To help this concept come alive, use an April Showers analogy! Enlist your students' help to decorate your classroom bulletin board with something like this:

  • For the Raindrops: specific instances of risk, such as scams (you could even have your students research different types of scams by using the FTC, one scam per raindrop), investment risks, or cognitive biases.
  • For the Umbrella Panels: Insurance, Education, and Critical Thinking
  • For the space under the Umbrella: Assets you want to protect with the Umbrella. Have your students take this wherever their imaginations want? Are these assets your belongings? Your accounts? Your investments? Or are these assets less tangible things like your earning potential or your privacy?

5. May Flowers Advice Cutouts

Shout out to Deborah Houghton for this spring-themed bulletin board idea.

  1. Create a "Garden" Background on your bulletin board.
  2. Print out blank "Flowers"
  3. Have your students write their advice (this can be financial tips, life hacks, or academic advice - whatever works for your classroom) for their peers on the flowers.

What a bright, springy way to promote Financial Literacy!

6. Cafeteria Fun Finance Facts

Who's hungry? Shout out to Jim Irzyk for this food-adjacent Financial Literacy Month idea. Assign your students to gather fun facts about personal finance, careers, entrepreneurship, economics, and more - then print and distribute their fun facts on the cafeteria tables!

Here are 25 fun (and sometimes frightening) finance facts you can use if you want to replicate Jim's idea without too much extra work.

7. Staff Financial Tips Showcase

We love this inspiring idea from Karin McDonough and Jenny Trieu. Karin celebrates Financial Literacy Month by collecting financial advice from all the staff members in her school, then posts the advice around the school for all students to benefit! Jenny does something similar in which students interview up to 10 staff members about their financial tips. Students then submit what they learn for raffle tickets.

As Karin and Jenny's different takes on the idea suggest, there are many ways you could approach this in your school. Either way, talk about building the buzz for Financial Literacy Month!

8. The Water Bottle Saving Challenge

Have you ever felt as if impulse purchases - whether food or clothing or whatever - have held you back from reaching a financial goal? If so, you're not alone!

In this thought-provoking Financial Literacy Month idea (big shout out to Erma Pemberton!), students are encouraged to save the cash they might have spent on impulse buys - snacks or drinks or coffee or whatever - in a water bottle or other type of DIY piggy bank. By the end of the semester, many students have saved hundreds of dollars they can then deposit into a bank account.

It's a powerful lesson that requires minimal prep, but please be sure to set clear guidelines for where students can keep their savings.

9. Video PSAs

Shouts out to Shawn Brigham for this tech-savvy tip for Financial Literacy Month! In Shawn's classroom, students make Video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about different pieces of financial advice. This idea is simple, effective, and makes use of a type of media that many students are comfortable with these days!

We just HAD to share this: in the Canva for Education x NGPF Template Collection, there is a video template for students to create their own customizable, animated PSAs about Saving tips. You could use this with ANY financial literacy topic. Such serendipity that Shawn brought this idea up in the workshop!

10. School Website & Social Media Promo

Shout out to Valerie Silver and Kim Irons for spreading the word about Financial Literacy Month on their schools' web bulletins and social media accounts. To replicate their efforts in your school or district, be sure to reach out to the administrator in charge of coordinating media and press opportunities. This person's title and role varies district to district, but once you strike up a bond with them, you'll be able to promote the inspiring work you're doing in your classroom to your whole community!

11. Students Teach the Next Class

To promote enrollment among next year's prospective personal finance students, Melissa Gordon and her colleagues are arranging for their current students to go present what they've learned to the students in the following year. This way, rising Seniors are hearing not just from teachers about the importance of Personal Finance, but from their own near peers. So powerful - well done, Melissa!

12. Book Studies & Giveaways

There are many phenomenal books about personal finance, many of which are written with for a teen audience. Awesome teachers Noreen Dieg, Shari Flakus, and Mark Vicenzino each shared they're making use of some of these great titles for book studies or giveaways during Financial Literacy Month! Here were some of the recommendations they shared:

  • 5 Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make in College - Anthony Oneal
  • A Teenager's Guide to Investing in the Stock Market - Luke Villermin
  • Financial Feminist - Tori Dunlap
  • Investing for Teenagers - Alex Higgs
  • The Money Club: A Teenage Guide to Financial Literacy - Jasmine Brown

Want another recommendation that will be sure to delight your FinCap Friday Fans? EXCITING NEWS! Our NGPF teammate and host of FinCap Friday, Yanely Espinal (AKA @missbehelpful) is releasing her NEW and refreshing book, Mind Your Money, in May.

13. Arcade Leaderboards

Shout out to Erin Fraser for this idea to get the friendly competition flowing! Throughout the spring, challenge your students to post their best scores on NGPF's Personal Finance Arcade Games! Record the best scores on a DIY leaderboard in your classroom.

Tons of creative examples of Arcade Leaderboards can be found in the FinLit Fanatics group on facebook.

14. "Napkin of the Day"

Napkin Finance, one of the NGPF team's favorite resources, takes financial concepts and writes or draws them on a napkin! Shoutout to Kimberly Simington, who uses Napkin Finance during Financial Literacy Month in a creative way. When students come into Kimberly's class each school day during April in Kimberly's classroom, they see and discuss a "Napkin of the Day."

Which Napkin is your favorite to discuss with your students?

15. Partnerships for the future!

During our workshop, many teachers shared that their schools partner with local or regional community organizations to promote financial literacy through community events like Reality Fairs, Interview Fairs, and Budget Simulations. Use Financial Literacy Month as a "hook" to reach out to organizations in your community that might help you for the next Financial Literacy Month!

We're thinking local Credit Unions and Banks, local Insurance Agencies and Financial Advisors, Entrepreneurs, etc!

Happy Financial Literacy Month from NGPF!

Thank you for reading, and we hope these 15 ideas from teachers help you in your own classroom! Happy Financial Literacy Month from Amanda and Christian at NGPF!

PS want more fun Financial Literacy Month resources and events? Check out NGPF's Financial Literacy Month webpage, which houses TONS of great free resources designed for your classroom.

About the Authors

Amanda Volz

Amanda joins the NGPF Team with over 20 years of experience teaching personal finance. During that time, she led her students to hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, won multiple awards, and most importantly, impacted the financial lives of thousands of high school students. Amanda prides herself on being an educational leader and is constantly looking for innovative ways to make the classroom relevant, rigorous, and fun. She is a passionate advocate for financial education and has been a long-time member of the NGPF community. Fun fact - Amanda was NGPF’s first teacher account! When Amanda isn’t working, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling with her husband and two children.

Christian Sherrill

Former teacher, forever financial education nerd. As NGPF's Director of Growth & Advocacy, Christian is laser-focused on our mission to guarantee all students a rigorous personal finance course before crossing the high school graduation stage. Having paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years - while living in the Bay Area on an entry level teacher's salary - he's eager to help the next generation avoid financial pitfalls one semester at a time.

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