"Teaching Thrift: A Curriculum" Unit 1: Wise Use

Bernadette McHenry

Institute for American Values, 2016

In Unit 1: Wise Use, the following enduring impacts will be gained: (1) thrift is an ethic that functions in multiple manners on various levels of society; (2) thrift was practiced at many points in United States history; (3) thrift is an enduring ethic that can still play an important role in the lives of individuals and communities.

Content comes from: twentieth century definitions of thrift (including Elbert Hubbard, the YMCA, Sara Oberholtzer); thrift as a habit to be developed in youth; role of thrift in the urban immigrant experience in the Golden Age of Immigration; conflict of thrift in the dawn of 20th century mass production and consumer culture; practice of pre-New Deal thrift in the form of Schools Savings Banks.

The essential questions asked are: (1) What is thrift? (2) How was thrift defined by varying 20th century primary sources? (3) How was thrift implemented at varying time periods in U.S. history and how did the role of thrift change or remain consistent? (4) What roles did groups and individuals play in the social and cultural practice of thrift? (5) Is the practice of thrift relevant today?

Skills gained include: (1) determining the meaning of a multiple-meaning word based on context within primary source readings; (2) identifying main ideas and summarizing text; (3) making inferences and drawing conclusions from a text; (4) comparing and contrasting multiple historical sources; (5) writing short stories, identifying audience and applying grade-appropriate organization and devices; (6) identifying and evaluating contributions of groups and individuals to Pennsylvania and U.S. history; (7) evaluating the impact of conflict and cooperation on U.S. history.

Subjects: Curricula, Teaching thrift, Thrift Collection

More by: Bernadette McHenry

Unit 1: Wise Use



Lesson 1: Principles of Thrift

Lesson 2: Dimensions of Thrift

Lesson 3: Stewardship of Small Sums

Lesson 4: Thrift Narratives

Lesson 5: Historical Contextualization – Wartime Thrift

Lesson 6: Historical Application – School Savings Banks

Lesson 7: Application of Thrift Principles


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