Teaching Responsibility and Patience with Marbles

100_4838In our middle to lower class majority, one rarely sees someone buy a large item like a car with cash. Kids don’t have a concept of what it means to “make payments.” Furthermore, most don’t remember what layaway is and all have a hard time deferring gratification and saving for a large ticket item. One way to teach these things is through marbles in jars. Each jar can be labeled the item or reward they get when it’s filled. If it’s an expensive one for me, I make it a large jar. When the kids do something well and receive a reward, the class can vote or one person who earned the marbles can decide what reward to save for. By making payments to that jar, they invest in that reward.

Another aspect that makes this powerful is when you allow them to pour out of one to fill another. This way they learn that things you value more take sacrifice in other areas and most of all they learn the value of patience and diligence as you make payments toward your goal. There are any ways you can work with these marbles. Depending on you, the sky’s the limit. If you do something simliar or want to try this, please share with us in the comments.


Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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