Friday, November 30, 2012

Careers in Insurance

The OII just released, a website focused on educating students and young professionals on the extensive career opportunities available in the industry. While the main focus of the website is students, OII also included resources that will help you connect your students with information related to insurance careers. The site features:
  • The Career Survey  
  • Insurance Career Pathways
  • Video interviews 
  • Ask a Pro 
Click here to visit and take full advantage of their resources. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A pocket guide for teaching about taxes

GoKicker just pulled together an ideal resource for teaching kids about taxes and fiscal terms. It is full of engaging videos, explanations of complex content in simple language, and useful infographics. The pocket guide topics include:
  • Taxes
  • Fiscal Cliff
  • Deficit and Debt
  • Debt Limit
  • Entitlement Programs
  • Medicare
  • Social Security
  • Tax Rates
  • Tax Cuts
  • The Tax Players of Politics

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maxed Out

It's time we stop underestimating the responsibilities and realities of many current high school students. Many are making financial decisions right now that could impact them for the rest of their lives. They have adult responsibilities ranging from cell phone bills, car loans, and student debt decisions. It is shame school districts across the country continue to latch on to 19th century curriculum in a 21st century world full of complicated financial choices these kids have to face - - but that is another matter.

I spend a few weeks covering credit and debt in my semester-long Personal Finance class. I lay a foundation of credit and debt lessons that empower kids to responsibly take advantage of credit tools and opportunities. I transition into my unit on credit cards by reviewing key credit card terms and having them analyze credit card solicitations. They then evaluate two different credit card solicitations and have to make a choice between the two, and justify the reason for their choice. I bridge the lesson into an activity using this Bankrate financial calculator and a series of scenarios with various interest rates and debt amounts so they can see for themselves the high cost of making only the minimum monthly payment.

This year I decided to show the documentary Maxed Out. Maxed Out takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows the consequences of credit mismanagement and disheartening regulatory gaps. The documentary is full of tear jerking stories of exploitation, families in crisis, and suicides triggered by financial hardship. I recommend showing this film to your students so they can get a glimpse of what it is like to learn from the school of hard knocks.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My new favorite #edtech toy

Have you ever seen a clip of a show or a movie that want to show your students? What about streaming a show in the time between bells to set the tone for your classroom?

Last fall Bill Maher hosted Paul Krugman and Arthur Laffer on Real Time. Paul Krugman is the economist darling for liberal's and an avid demand-side economist. Arthur Laffer is the father of the Laffer Curve and supply-side economics, every conservative's hero. So following Maher's stand-up routine, which was not appropriate for my students, Maher began the panel discussion by simply telling the two of them to go at it. The next ten minutes were brilliant, civil, and spot on with many of the points we had discussed in AP Macroeconomics. I was never able to show my classroom their discourse, and since that point I have been looking for a way to capture engaging learning moments like these for kids.

My solution - Slingbox. The Slingbox allows us to watch your TV anywhere — from our laptop or our mobile device which we can project for our students. We can even play play recorded shows. I can show my students the Krugman-Laffer discourse. I can play Squawk Box between bells, which covers the latest financial market news.

Slingbox is one more tool we can use to bring our classrooms to life for our students.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your credit score matters

Your credit score matters. Your credit score will impact whether or not you can get a loan and the cost of the loan. It can even impact whether you get a job or rent an apartment. Your credit score can even impact the cost of some insurance products. This should matter to you, and we need to make sure it matters to students. High school kids are young adults who may already be making choices that impact their credit score.

I really like the investopedia video above as a simple hook for a lesson on credit scoring. Click here for my favorite credit education resources.

Elmo teaches kids money lessons

For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving, was developed in 2011 by Sesame Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street®, in partnership with PNC Grow Up Great. For Me, for You, for Later provides parents, caregivers, and educators with strategies and resources to turn everyday experiences into financial moments.

Achieve It with Sesame Street! is a free mobile app that reinforces concepts introduced in the For Me, for You, for Later kit. Parents set goals with their children and complete fun, real-world challenges that introduce important age-appropriate financial concepts such as choice, value, spending, saving, sharing, and more. This app is available for free from the iTunes store and the Android Marketplace. To locate the app, simply search 'PNC' or 'Sesame Street'.

PNC Grow Up Great is full of tools, online games, and other resources for kids, parents and educators.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Students, get out your phones and get organized

I noticed that very few of you are using your agenda books to stay organized. For those who do not have phones, you really should be. For those who do have phones, you need to start to take advantage of an ideal organizational tool just at your fingertips. It is with you all the time and it is one of your most important possessions. Not all phones are equal, but all phones do have basic tools you will find helpful.

Stop pretenting to write your homework down on a scrap piece of paper you know you will lose five minutes after class is over. Write your homework down in your calendar, and set a reminder time for when you plan on doing it, and when it is due.

Use your phone to store valuable passwords. For some of you, it may be your online banking password. For others it may be your online school program passwords like Budget Challenge or Everfi. There are plenty of applications available, such as these five. Be sure to use the appropriate password protection techniques, here are just a few.

Most of you use Twitter to follow your friends and your favorite celebrities. However, Twitter can also be a valuable learning tool. Click here for 12 Twitter feeds for HS students to follow.

Khan Academy
Do you need to see a math problem explained one more time? What about a science illustration? Khan Academy is full of videos you can use to review, extend your learning, or practice. Click here to visit Khan Academy. Yes, they have an App.

Are you having trouble with vocabulary in any of your classes? Click here to visit Quizlet to study virtually. By the way, they have an App.

Most of you use Remind101. If you have yet to signup but have the capability, I strongly suggest you signup now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

You can't fire your way to Finland

I always wondered what Charlotte Danielson, who crafted the teacher evaluation model we use, thought of the current trend of teacher evaluation reform. Well, here it is in three short minutes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

3 resources to teach about bankruptcy

The Credit Abuse Resistance Education program is dedicated to providing abundant resources for teachers and students to learn about bankruptcy and bankruptcy prevention.

The United States Courts has a collection of helpful videos on bankruptcy basics.

The National Council for Credit Counseling is the nation's largest financial counseling organization.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A researched-based argument to integrate financial literacy

The Rand Corporation just shared a summary of the results of decades of research that identifies nine lessons on how to teach 21st century skills and knowledge. Clearly, the first four lessons make a compelling argument for the integration of financial literacy skills in elementary grades. The national trend seems to be to wait until high school, that is if students are left all together to wait and learn from the school of hard knocks. The release of this research is timely, as teachers across the country are beginning to implement the new Common Core State Standards.

"As Thomas Friedman put it in a recent New York Times column, globalization compounds the urgency for students to develop the skills and knowledge they need for economic and civic success in the 21st century. Yet despite widespread agreement among parents, educators, employers and policymakers worldwide that students need skills like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and creativity, these skills are stubbornly difficult to teach and learn.

The "transmission" model, through which teachers transmit factual knowledge via lectures and textbooks, remains the dominant approach to compulsory education in much of the world. Students taught through this method typically do not practice applying knowledge to new contexts, communicating it in complex ways, solving problems or developing creativity. In short, as our new paper lays out, it is not the most effective way to teach 21st century skills.

Decades of empirical research about how individuals learn, however, provide valuable insight into how pedagogy can address the need for 21st century skills. Indeed, the research suggests nine lessons that inform how to teach these skills:

Make it relevant. The relevance of learning specific knowledge and skills is much clearer to students—and much more motivating—if they understand how a given topic fits into "the big picture," or a meaningful context.

Teach through the disciplines. Students develop their 21st century skills and knowledge as they learn why each academic discipline is important, how experts create new knowledge, and how they communicate about it.

Develop lower and higher order thinking skills—at the same time. Students need to comprehend relationships between given variables and how to apply this understanding to different contexts.

Encourage transfer of learning. Students need to develop the ability to apply skills, concepts, knowledge, attitudes and/or strategies they develop in one context, situation or application to another, reflexively (low-road transfer) or after deliberate thought and analysis (high-road transfer)."

Click here to read the full summary or download the research paper. Click here to download the K-12 Jump$tart Personal Finance National Standards. Click here for an e-binder of resources for financial literacy integration.