When You Ask Second-Graders to “Build A Business,”
Prepare for an Inspiring Look into the Future
CET’s Interdisciplinary Project Brings Passion and Pride to the Forefront of Learning
POV: You’re walking down the street in Croton-on-Hudson and pass by The Lightning’s Hotel powered “in a flash” by a lightning rod on the roof. Then you head into Bath Bomb City because you heard that they use rainwater to create their products, and who doesn’t love an environmentally friendly bubble bath? The weather is warming up, so your next stop is Silver Lake. Don’t forget to visit Mia’s Snack Shack for a tasty treat, it’s the only option on your way to the water!
While none of these places currently exist in Croton-on-Hudson, they do sound like pretty smart additions, right? This is just a small taste of the business ideas that the second-graders at CET developed when given the opportunity to reimagine what the future Croton-on-Hudson could look like. From pet daycare facilities open early enough to get you to work on time, to “healthy” ice cream shops, fashion boutiques, and new birthday party destinations, CET students have big ideas on what the Croton community needs.
The “Build A Business” project has been a passion of the second-grade team for the last few years and, this year, evolved through the district’s commitment to interdisciplinary project-based learning. Students were required to create a prototype of their business along with a business card with a slogan and logo. Some even created commercials, QR codes, websites, and brochures. Students were asked to consider how their business would be environmentally friendly and the affordability of their goods and services for customers in Croton. These sophisticated second-graders tapped into their knowledge of Economics, Math, Science, and English Language Arts to bring their business ideas to life.
On May 10, the classes hosted a "Grand Opening Celebration" and were joined by administrators, members of the Village Board, Mayor Pugh, and our very own “soon-to-be second-graders” (aka first-graders). Complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, this event served as the culmination of the second grade’s social studies units on community and economics.
CET Principal, Kerri Bianchi, shared that the first-grade classes were invited because this project, “Builds on the first-grade social studies curriculum of getting to know your community’s needs and wants. It was the perfect transition for our first graders.” This cross-grade-level connection gave students an opportunity to teach one another while supporting and developing their interpersonal and self-leadership skills.
When asked what her greatest takeaway from this project was, second-grade teacher, Erica Hubbard, beamed when describing how proud and engaged her students are. “Children who sometimes are reluctant learners pursued the enhancement options and have been asking if they can keep working on their projects over the summer.” She went on to share how the students are independently making connections between this project and other units. “One student asked if we can make a map of Hubbard-on-Hudson (the name the class chose for their “city”) which will connect with our mapping skills unit.”
Superintendent Walker summed up the experience saying that “School is an exceptional and amazing place when you allow the faculty and students to do what it is that they love. When they follow their interests and passions, school becomes an exceptional place, and we saw that this morning.” Assistant Superintendent, John Griffiths echoed the sentiment, sharing that, “School in the most ideal form, is a place where learning can occur through fun and creativity. When that happens, kids are more motivated, their learning is going to go even deeper, and they’re going to look forward to coming back even more.”
Whether they visited Hubbard-on-Hudson, Birneyburg, Deacy District, Jacoburkeville, or Sofroniou Street, it’s safe to say that every grown up and student was blown away by the passion, creativity, and pride displayed through each business.
For the final component of the project, students will put their persuasive-writing skills to work, when they pen a letter to Mayor Pugh convincing him as to why he needs to open their businesses in town. No matter the result of their letter writing, we know the future of Croton looks bright indeed!