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Three Maine Schools to Demonstrate Interactive Claim Your Future® Game
FAME announced recently that it is making available to every Maine middle school a free interactive resource called Claim Your Future®, which takes the form of a game and is designed to encourage students to explore career options with an eye toward future earning potential and increased financial literacy. The interactive game provides students with real-world spending and budgeting challenges and the opportunity to explore different levels of education to see how it translates into income potential. The game is part of a strategic initiative by FAME designed to increase awareness of career and college options, raise aspirational goals, and improve financial capability.
To introduce the game to the Maine school community, last week FAME partnered with three public schools – Lincoln Middle School (Portland), Lewiston Middle School (Lewiston), and Glenburn School (near Bangor) – to demonstrate the Claim Your Future Game. FAME also has created an online component of the game so kids can play it outside of school. Schools interested in ordering Claim Your Future should visit ClaimYourFuture.com.
“Now that kids are back in school, and classroom routines are more established, we wanted to let the entire Maine school community know we have an incredible free resource available to them,” said Mary Dyer, Financial Education Officer at FAME. “Claim Your Future supports existing curriculum while allowing students to understand the strong connection between the choices they make today and the opportunities available to them in the future. They will also learn that higher education leads to more career options and higher paying jobs.”
Each year Lewiston Middle School 8th grade teacher Billie Jo Brito plans a transition event for her students heading off to high school. The event includes a visit to a college campus, speakers, a financial literacy workshop, and, more recently, game sessions with FAME. Brito said, “I want to help plant the seed and open their eyes to future possibilities while also exposing them to real world costs and what will be required to meet some of life’s essential expenses. Claim Your Future is truly an incredible resource, and now that we can have it in our classroom and lead our own sessions, we can keep the conversation going all year long. Over the years, I’ve found that it’s so important to keep bringing back the concept and make the conversation relevant for students because it clicks for everyone at different times.”
According to Dyer, “Individuals who obtain a college degree are more likely to earn more money throughout their career and experience higher job satisfaction than those who only have a high school education.” The United States Census Bureau reported that individuals who achieved the following degree levels earned the following median annual salaries: PhD’s, $100,000 or more; master’s, $63,000; bachelor’s, $55,700; associate’s, $42,000; high school diploma, $32,500. In Maine, 37.8% of Maine residents 25 years or older have attained a degree higher than high school according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2013 American Community Survey.
How the Game is Played
In a classroom setting, teachers can assign each student one of 50 unique Claim Your Future game wheels, representing a specific career, college degree, and monthly salary. Educators are then encouraged to discuss various career and college options and lead students through a monthly budgeting activity.
In an effort to encourage more Maine children to play the game and prepare for their future, FAME is now offering the game online at ClaimYourFuture.com. Students can select a career and navigate through different spending choices. They will also find descriptions of careers, key vocabulary, and various spending options. Students can also see a visual representation of how much money they’ve spent as they progress through the game.
Reaction from teachers
After receiving numerous requests from Maine educators, FAME responded swiftly to develop Claim Your Future, both the physical game and the online resource, in order to make it available to teachers across the state. Maine teachers and students have enthusiastically embraced the tool.
“I’m so excited this resource is being made available to Maine school children,” said 4th/5th grade multiage class teacher Janet Ecker at Glenburn School near Bangor. “It will help students discover what kind of jobs are out there and give them a fun way to evaluate what they might want to do in life. It also shows them that if they go beyond high school, they have a better chance of earning more money. It puts them on a path to thinking, ‘I can do this, and I can start now.’”
In Portland, 8th grade Lincoln Middle Schoolteacher Rhonda Mayersaid, “We always scramble to get relevant resources and make learning real-life for kids. Students will respond well to this type of game because it’s interactive and fun. It also provides a valuable lesson and gets kids thinking about different career options and what’s needed for education, and the connection between that education and potential future income.”
Dyer noted, “It’s so exciting that Maine educators see value in this type of interactive learning tool. We’ve been amazed by the response and have even received interest from educators from outside of Maine – receiving more than 1,700 visitors from more than 35 countries to the website since it went live earlier this summer.”
For the prior seven years, FAME offered a similar game called “Get a Life,” which representatives would bring into schools to work with students. With this new program and free game offer, teachers will now be able to lead the game and use it whenever they want. FAME has also made the following resources available to Maine educators:
A training video
An Educator’s Guide, which includes budget worksheets, a detailed lesson plan, homework activities, and additional resources
Additional web resources to promote savings
125 unique careers, along with descriptions and key vocabulary