Local Schools

Market Day gives a slice of normalcy to a pretty abnormal year

From left, Yamille Limas, Nayeli Guerra and Mila Gauna, third graders at Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas, arrange keychains Guerra created for the school’s first-ever Market Day held on May 13. Each third grade student created a product, marketed it and sold it to younger students in exchange for play money. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — On May 13, third-graders at Our Lady of Unity School here transformed from students to entrepreneurs.

With some help from the fourth graders, they hosted the school’s first-ever Market Day, where they sold products they had created in exchange for play money.

“In third grade, a major part of their social studies curriculum is economics and how money works,” explained third grade teacher Martha Concannon.

This school year, Concannon’s students participated in a reward system where they experienced real-world scenarios — like earning money in the classroom and paying rent for their desks.

Market Day was a culmination of the lessons learned throughout the year, said Concannon.

Kenzie Wilson, Mila Gauna and Yamille Limas set out Limas’ paintings before customers arrive at Market Day. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

The students were eager to explain the work they’d put into the project.

“We made products to sell,” said Nayeli Guerra. “I have chosen to make keychains.”

“Making the product was really fun,” she added. “I made mine at home and got a little bit of help from my sister.”

Yamille Limas created her own paintings, and Orlando Ramirez made pompom toys adorned with googly eyes and feet for his peers to enjoy.

Orlando Ramirez lines up pom pom toys he created to sell to his fellow students at Our Lady of Unity. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

The students first determined how many items they wanted to create, said Concannon, and then came up with a price.

They sold the items during Market Day to the kindergarten, first- and second- grade classes, honing basic sales skills to market the items and math skills to exchange money.

“We learned how to count money,” said Limas. “We played a lot of games about how to count money [to prepare].”

“We learned about being entrepreneurs,” added Ramirez.

Guerra said the experience taught her about customer service.

Students at Our Lady of Unity exchanged play money during Market Day. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Concannon believes it also showed the young students the importance of perseverance and setting and reaching goals.

For spectators like principal Cally Dahlstrom, it was inspiring to watch each of the students run their own business for a day.

“The third and fourth grade did an awesome job of putting together great items to sell,” she said. “I think that through this process with having the market, our kids are really learning the value of what a dollar looks like.”

Second-grader Alan Villanueva gives money to Limas in exchange for one of her paintings. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Concannon hopes that aside from the academic lessons, the experience also provided some normalcy for her students, who, because of COVID-19, learned virtually at times throughout the year.

“It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that I had all 13 kids coming every day,” she said.

Because of this, Concannon was excited to give the students a more collaborative project — and they were eager for the opportunity.

Martha Concannon tests out a paper airplane during Market Day. Concannon hopes the day taught her students about setting and reaching goals — and persevering through difficulties. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

One moment that stands out to Concannon was when Ramirez finished making his products early and spent the week leading up to Market Day helping his classmates with theirs.

“That natural desire to help each other was definitely happening,” she said. “Kids would say, ‘I have this paint at home, and I’m not using it anymore,’ and they would give it to a classmate.

“They’re really good cheerleaders for each other. They have a lot of empathy for each other.”

Nayeli Guerra sells keychains she made with some help from her sister Celia, a kindergartner at Our Lady of Unity. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Dahlstrom is grateful Our Lady of Unity has teachers like Concannon who made this school year special despite the circumstances.

“I’m so proud of the teachers,” she said. “They have really worked hard this year. To find time to build [something like] this into their curriculum, and then also to encourage the creativity that the kids displayed through this, is amazing.”

Dahlstrom hopes Market Day will stand out to the students when they look back on this eventful year.

“I know that this will be something they will remember for years to come,” she said.

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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