Bringing Economic Vocabulary to Life Through Video Posters

2 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Estimated Time
Three 60-minute sessions
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The goal of this lesson is to introduce the academic vocabulary of economics and financial literacy through children's books. In Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon, there are a variety of economics and financial literacy vocabulary words embedded in the text, which involve a school fundraiser. Through a think-aloud read-aloud, the lesson will illustrate how to introduce key economic concepts/vocabulary through the story. Students use puppets to conduct interviews about economics vocabulary in the story and then create vocabulary cards. As a final project, they create video posters, using either PowerPoint or Glogster.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Students should use words as tools to learn vocabulary.
  • Instruction in academic vocabulary must use words as a way for communication and thought about the content in the discipline.
  • Students need opportunities to use the vocabulary words for the purposes of thinking and communicating as they are learning them.
  • The authors recommend using children’s literature to teach economics concepts in the primary grades.
  • Vocabulary strategies, including read-alouds, book talks, teacher talk are used to expand the meanings of economic-specific vocabulary.
  • Graphic novels can be used to make connections to content knowledge in social studies.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology




  1. Familiarize yourself with the economics vocabulary by:

  2. Familiarize yourself with graphic novels using the following resources:

  3. If you wish to use the bookmark, print the Read-Aloud Bookmark and fold it lengthwise to form a convenient bookmark.

  4. Preview the Babymouse book and practice using the teacher prompts on the Read-Aloud Bookmark. The economics and financial literacy vocabulary words are italicized. Highlight the prompts and vocabulary words you wish to emphasize.

  5. Familiarize yourself with the unique features of the Babymouse books in order to help your students shift between Babymouse’s real life and fantasy life. The panels that are pink are part of Babymouse’s active imagination. The black and white frames are Babymouse’s real experiences. Use the Babymouse website to search through the book, find games, and learn how to read graphic novels. Print a copy for each student of the Babymouse puppet for Session 1.

  6. Create a vocabulary cube with the Cube Creator, using the following questions for the sides:

    • What is the vocabulary word?

    • What is the definition?

    • Give an example from Babymouse.

    • Give an example from your own experiences.

    • Write an interview question you would ask Babymouse using the word.

    • Write Babymouse’s dialogue/answer using the word.

    Prepare draft .rwt files for student pairs working on computers or print copies of Vocabulary Cube if working offline.

  7. Using Trading Cards mobile app, create a sample vocabulary trading card for an economics vocabulary word based on the experiences of Babymouse.

  8. Learn more about Glogster EDU and set up accounts as necessary. For a tutorial, watch the Glogster EDU Video Tutorials or the SchoolTube video How to Use Glogster EDU.

  9. If creating posters through PowerPoint, review the PowerPoint Tool Tips and print a copy for each student.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Demonstrate understanding of economic concepts by answering questions and providing textual examples

  • Create a multimedia product that shows their comprehension of key economic vocabulary

Session 1

Before Reading

  1. Choose the economics vocabulary words you wish to focus on for the activity. Here are some suggestions based on the content-area standards for economics K–5: wants, goods, services, money, seller, buyer, customer, scarcity, human resources (jobs), capital resources (tools and equipment), incentives. You may wish to choose other words.

  2. Familiarize the students with the features of graphic novels. Ask if they have ever read comics and how they know what is happening (answers include read the speech bubbles/thought bubbles, look at pictures). Ask if they know the difference between a speech bubble and a thought bubble.

  3. Show students a few sample pages from Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon. Explain that the pink panels are for her imagination and the white panels for her real experiences. Because the panels are small, consider using a document reader to enlarge the print and zoom in on specific features.

  4. Listen to Chatting About Books: Babymouse Extravaganza to hear an interview with the authors.

  5. Ask students to color or decorate their own Babymouse puppet to use during the video interviews. Tell students that they will pose as the interviewer and the puppet will respond to questions about the vocabulary words in the text.

During Reading

In order to maintain student attention, you may want to either conduct this reading in shorter sessions or you may want to condense some of the content. For example, from the cover page until page 22, you can skim through the story, telling the students what happened, rather than reading every speech bubble. Focus on pages 23-46, using the Read-Aloud Bookmark questions in order to reinforce the content area vocabulary words.

After Reading

  1. Reinforce the vocabulary words used during the read-aloud. Turn to the specific pages in the book and re-ask the questions. Students can use their Babymouse puppets to answer the questions, putting themselves in the role of Babymouse.

  2. Students create a Vocabulary Cube from Cube Creator or a Vocabulary Trading Card from the Trading Cards mobile app. After reviewing all the concepts up to page 46, ask students to work in pairs.

    • Vocabulary Cube: Provide each pair with a specific economic vocabulary word and the draft .rwt file or printout of the vocabulary cube from Cube Creator. Students work together to answer the questions on the cube.

    • Vocabulary Trading Card: Provide each pair with a specific economic vocabulary word and have them choose the vocabulary trading card. Students work together to answer the questions on the card.

  3. After students come up with questions and answers, they can practice their puppet interviews with one student acting as interviewer and the other as Babymouse.

Session 2

Before Reading

Review the story and related vocabulary from the previous session. Consider introducing pages 46–60 prior to the session and save the time for an in-depth read-aloud of pages 61-89.

During Reading

Use the guiding questions you may wish to use for this read-aloud/think-aloud of the second part of the book.

After Reading

Follow the after-reading instructions from Session 1. If your computer has a video camera embedded, open your software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker/Live) to videotape interview questions and answers. Students can either videotape privately with their partner, or you can project the computer onto a screen and they can do their short interviews in front of the class (this helps reinforce the concepts). Save all of the videos as either .mp4 or .mov files.

Session 3

  1. Review with students the concepts and vocabulary words from previous sessions.

  2. Tell students that they will be creating vocabulary-inspired posters, and show examples from KidsEconPosters: Literature Connection or Econ Illinois: Economics Poster Contest Winners.

  3. Similar to the after-reading portions of Session 2, students should videotape a short puppet show where Babymouse speaks directly into the camera. Remind them that the video should include an explanation of the vocabulary word and evidence about how it is used in the story. If students are making their posters using PowerPoint, hand out copies of PowerPoint Tool Tips. Explain to students that the first slide should show the vocabulary word as the title and the definition should appear below. Assist them in inserting the videos into the slides. (Note: To save these PowerPoint slides with embedded videos, always transfer the file of videos with the PowerPoint so they are linked.) If students are making posters using Glogster EDU, have them register for an account. Assist them in importing any video, image, audio, or text files into their posters.

  4. After students finish their posters, ask them to give a short presentation as a review of all of the concepts. Hand out the Vocabulary Evaluation Form and ask students to define and provide a written or drawn example for the words they’ve learned.


  • Ask students to use appropriate vocabulary to create advertisements or flyers for the cupcake fundraiser or another school fundraiser using the interactive Printing Press tool.

  • Have students create comics where two characters discuss the vocabulary words using Comic Creator.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Evaluate student comprehension of vocabulary concepts by reviewing their written definitions and examples about chosen economics vocabulary words on the Vocabulary Evaluation Form.

  • While the students present, evaluate using the Vocabulary Video Poster Rubric how well they are able to discuss the economic concepts they used in their video posters.

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