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Name:  Kelsie Wilson

School: Knolls Vista Elementary, Moses Lake, WA

Grade levels:  4th

Subjects: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art.  I embed Personal Finance in all subject areas.

Years as an educator: 4


Making Money Matter

Jump$tart Staff: “How do you make money matter to your students?”

Kelsie: “As a student growing up, I didn’t have access to financial literacy lessons.  Consequently, my financial decisions, as a young adult, directly reflect a lack of financial literacy.  This motivated me, as an elementary teacher, to build learning experiences that mirror the world outside the classroom.  Students are excited to engage in the ‘real world’ activities that they experience at home, especially as it relates to finance.  Our classroom operates under a democratic token economy where students:  apply for classroom jobs, write checks to pay for rent/bills and purchase necessities at our classroom store.  Further, students are able to earn extra money by exhibiting positive behavior, collaborating with classmates, and showing perseverance.   Throughout the school year, our lessons focus on:  finance basics, spending vs. saving, interest rates, and maintaining a personal bank account.   Our classroom economy helps provide frequent and varied opportunities to gain valuable financial knowledge as it relates to CCSS for math (number sense, place value, addition/subtraction, decimals and fractions).”


Financial Education Requirement

Jump$tart Staff: “What is the financial education requirement in your state?”

Kelsie: “While financial education is not required, Washington State has adopted financial learning standards and created a scope-and-sequence for grades K-12.  This has been a wonderful resource to help guide my financial instruction.”


Called To Teach

Jump$tart Staff: “Can you tell us about your calling to teach?”

Kelsie: “To be completely honest, I never thought I would be a teacher as I grew up.  While I was in college, I took a tutoring job at our local middle school.  I fell in love with helping students learn new concepts and overcome challenges.  At that point, I knew I needed to change my own educational path to become a teacher.  I couldn’t wait to help students grow as learners, individuals and future community members! This is my ninth year teaching and I still look forward to my ongoing growth as a teacher.”


Go-To Resources

Jump$tart Staff: “What are your go-to resources for teaching financial literacy to your students?”

Kelsie: “Wow!  There are so many great free, financial resources.  I would have to say My Kids Bank (, because I use it every day in my classroom.  My Kids Bank is a digital bank simulator which allows you to create checking accounts for students, make deposits and withdrawals with ease, and print individual bank statements so students are able to track their finances.   Another fantastic resource is Money Savvy Generation.  This program provides assessments, instructional activities and a piggy bank for each student.  I am so grateful for Money Savvy Generation and the financial education they offer to students.  Last (but certainly not least), EverFi ( provides digital/interactive learning games in all academic arenas.  From math to social/emotional learning (and financial education), students love the game-like adventures while practicing challenging concepts.  EverFi is easy to use, provides engaging activities K-12, and allows teachers the ability to track student progress with ease.  In education, new resources can feel like ¨one more thing.¨  These three resources will make teaching financial literacy a breeze!”



Teaching During a Pandemic

Jump$tart Staff: “How do you teach during the pandemic?”

Kelsie: “Since the start of our current school year, I have been teaching seventeen students, full-time, on-campus.  With health mandates, educational gaps and students’ mental health, teaching this year has presented many unforeseen and unique tribulations.  As teachers, our instructional methods and practices have had to endure countless changes; requiring reflection and adjustment.  But the challenges have definitely helped hone my teaching skills.”