By Tim Leeds
Sunnyside Elementary School is holding an open house this evening, including a trade fair of the fifth-grade classes, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
"It's just kind of a fun time," Principal Linda Kaze said, "just a gathering for everyone to enjoy."
Kaze said the open house is for students and their families, relatives, friends and anyone who would like to see what happens in the school.
There will be art and project displays in the classrooms and hallways, teachers in their classrooms and visiting the other classrooms, and the trade fair.
Fifth-grade teacher Karla Geda said the trade fair is the end result of a unit she and Pam Stenerson, who also teaches fifth-grade at Sunnyside, have been doing to introduce their students to the business world.
Geda said the students have created their own businesses, with products they have made themselves, and will be selling them at the fair. She said the money raised will be put together into a class fund, and the class will then vote on what to do with the money.
"We will pool the money that we make to do something fun as a class!" the information about the the fair on the web site for Geda's class says.
The students will also be rated by judges at the fair tonight. Geda said the students know they will be judged, but don't know who the judges will be. She said they have put a little more effort into the project since it is a competition.
She said the students decided what their businesses would be, created business plans, put up advertisements, including one group making a video commercial; Geda said they had to create a complete business as any businessman would.
The fair will hold a variety of products and services. Geda said one business offers advice on art and how to draw, businesses will be selling baked goods, cotton candy, candles, wind chimes and more. She said they encouraged the students to use recycled items or things they already had, but the work was done by the students.
"We have not helped them make their products," Geda said.
She said they have encouraged the students and guided them with development, such as creating business plans, but the students were responsible for creating their own businesses.
Geda and Stenerson have been teaching their students about business concepts for quite some time before the fair, Geda said. She said they have been teaching them about business plans, transaction records, business vocabulary and terminology, and exposing them to concepts like business capital and expenses, overhead costs, rental agreements and the like.
Part of the unit is to show the students that they can be entrepreneurs at any age, Geda said. She said the students have researched examples, like a 27-year-old landscaper from Great Falls who started when he was 15 and a 10-year-old with his own business in tying fishing flies.
Geda said the unit could tie in very well with the Mini-Society Camp Lincoln-McKinley teacher Marilyn Granell holds in the summer, with the same concepts of students studying and creating their own businesses.
She encouraged everyone in the community to come and visit the open house and the trade fair.
"The more people we have, the better," Geda said.
On the Net: Karla Geda's fifth-grade class web site: http://www.ss.havre.k12.mt.us/geda/geda.html