Building Stax

The seventh graders are learning about saving and investing along with their study of rational number arithmetic. They will meet with a couple of financial advisors in conjunction with their research project. This week they fell in love the the simulation Building Stax by Next Gen Personal Finance. According to NGPF, STAX “teaches students how to invest using an engaging, fast-paced game in which students will make 20 years of investment decisions in....20 minutes. They will choose among stocks, bonds and index funds while also learning about the importance of having an emergency fund as ‘life happens’ to them in this simulation.”


This post is not flashy, but it is important as it reflects our daily practice of reading. At the beginning, or occasionally, the end of each Language Arts class, we set aside ten minutes to read. We actually do this in my other classes, too-- in 6th, we end the day with a read-aloud, and in 5th, students read individually for 10 minutes. Reading for pleasure holds immense value. The key to this practice is allowing student choice. Students may read any book, from our current class novel to a graphic novel that they can finish in an hour. Regardless of the title, reading a book of your choice fosters not only independence and validation of your interests, but it also enriches your life by opening you to new ideas. Students can learn so much that they can apply to their daily life--empathy with characters, appreciation of their own circumstances, knowledge about a historical era. Reading also exposes students to new and familiar vocabulary, reinforces literary elements of theme, mood, tone, imagery, etc. The list is endless. In these photos, two 7th graders read graphic novels and one reads a realistic fiction book by a well-known middle-grade author. Although I’m not in the photos, I am reading, too, to model good practice for my students. When the timer goes off, it is often unwelcome. As much as I don’t want to, I sometimes have to close students’ books! Afterward, we talk a bit about our books and recommend them to each other. These minutes represent a gift to ourselves to quiet our brains and absorb ourselves in another world.  

Katelyn Gunter