Marsha Bird, who teaches fourth grade at Raymond F. Brandes School in Indianapolis, thinks that her greatest strength as an educator resides in her ability to "design and deliver the curriculum in an authentic manner." In this case, authenticity for Mrs. Bird means the practice of setting classroom lessons in a "real world context." Mrs. Bird transforms her classroom into a miniature society; the year-long model entailed by this project has students designing and implementing an economic system. Within this system students are expected to simulate real-life situations-they "work," "pay bills" and "run a store" that sells school supplies. Math and economic concepts lend themselves well to the framework, and students can also explore areas such as responsibility, organization and independence. "The students enjoy their participation in the society so much that they often miss the fact that they are learning," says Mrs. Bird.