Teaching Strategies

/Teaching Strategies
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Please Include Student Loans in Your Lessons!!!!

Connecting the dots on a weekend and thinking about recent student loan news. Most standard personal finance courses spend way too little time on this issue of student loans and more broadly paying for college. Why? One major reason is the national standards have not emphasized this issue of college finance (see how many times you find “college” and “student loans” in this 52 page document).

So, what are the dots that I am connecting and why the imperative to include in your curriculum? 1) almost 50% of student loan borrowers are struggling; 2) the fastest growing segment of student loan market is over 60; 3) the largest student loan servicer is being sued for“systematically and illegally failing borrowers at every stage of repayment.” Kinda makes you wonder how much #3 contributes to #1 but I digress:

Guest Blog from Sue Suttich: “401(k) = Cha Ching!”

When she was at Summer Institute 2016, NGPF Fellow Sue Suttich told us about the “Cha-Ching” policy she uses in her classroom. Now, as a follow-up, she’s providing all of you with this catchy strategy she implements throughout the year to help her students remember the most important personal finance concepts. Thanks for sharing, Sue!

NGPF Product Launch: NGPF Releases Revamped Savings Unit

I am so proud of the NGPF team (Jessica, Sonia, Laura, Ren, Sid and Niko) that has worked feverishly to deliver a revamped Saving Unit that we released tonight. Why do we continue to revamp our lessons? The short answer can be found in our culture of continuous improvement as we are always looking for ways to make our lessons stronger (your feedback is critical in this process). Here is the longer answer: 

Let Them Tell Stories Too…

download (3)As educators, we know the power of storytelling in the personal finance classroom. What better way to bring an abstract or dry topic like compound interest to life than to explain how $10,000 you invested in your IRA in your 20s was now worth $30,000 today due to gains in the stock market compounded over many years. There is even research that shows that student recall concepts better when told as a story as compared to a lecture (from Bryant and Harris):

The use of storytelling allows lecturers to engage students in a dynamic and enthusiastic way while encouraging students to develop a higher order of thinking and recollection. Storytelling allows the lecturer to show their interest in the material and in the students. Lectures can utilize the art of storytelling to communicate expertise and transfer information. This paper empirically examines the effectiveness of storytelling as a means of increasing student intrigue and recollection. We find that students recall a statistically significant 6.5% more of the storytelling lecture than those students who were exposed to the text book lecture.

Yet the focus when we talk about stories is usually on the teacher and yet…students have their stories and advice to share also. I was reminded of that today at Eastside College Prep., where we are beginning our 6-week course with the senior class. The discussion was about savings and why it can be so difficult to save. A student shared how she had a weak spot for her “hobbies” which she described in further detail with one word: shoes. I dug a bit deeper to understand more about her habits and she proceeded to say something along the lines of this:

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks Spreadsheets with Educator Jeff Shirey of Avonworth Middle/High Schools (PA)

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Thanks to Jeff Shirey of Avonworth Middle and High School (Pittsburgh, PA) for joining the NGPF podcast recently. In addition to being an accomplished salsa dancer outside the classroom (his living room has a dance floor), Jeff is a spreadsheet whiz inside the classroom. I became aware of Jeff’s work through this news story that focused on his passion for spreadsheets. Jeff shares his insights on favorite projects, how he introduces spreadsheets to his middle schoolers and how he differentiates instruction for his more advanced students. You will certainly walk away with some ideas on how to incorporate spreadsheets in your classroom. Enjoy!

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By |January 17th, 2017|Current Events, Podcasts, Teaching Strategies, Tips for Teachers|

Know Thy Source: Rule #1 in Digital Literacy

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Those who use NGPF resources know that we place a premium on teaching students how to navigate the web, discern credible sources of information and do the research required to make sound financial decisions. Occasionally we get pushback that our content should be “commercial free” and that linking to an online article that has ads anywhere on the page is “commercial” and students should not be subjected such distraction. Newsflash: The Internet has gone commercial. All that free content has to be paid for somehow. Isn’t it better that we teach students to be skeptical, critical thinkers about advertising instead of pretending that they can wall themselves off in an ad-free world. 

Flash Survey Results! Differentiation

Differentiation.  You know the word, you hear the buzz, but what are other educators doing?

We surveyed many educators to find out how they incorporate differentiation into their personal finance lessons.

Some key findings from our survey:

  1. 61% of survey respondents reported that they plan lessons incorporating differentiation at least one per week
  2. Activities, assessments and reading texts were the most commonly identified resources for differentiation 
  3. 80% of survey respondents reported that they had limited time to plan for differentiation

Survey Results:

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Congratulations to Walt Petig from Exeter High School, Exeter (NH) who has received a $50 Amazon Gift Card for participating in the Differentiation Survey!

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To HS Educator Jonathan Joseph About Weaving Sports into His Economics Course

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Happy New Year! I am excited for another year of podcasts (and hope that you are too). This week’s guest, Jonathan Joseph, is an award-winning Economics and personal finance teacher at his alma mater, White Plains High School in White Plains, New York (proving that you CAN go home again!). He shares his secrets to engaging ALL students through an innovative curriculum he built which uses examples from sports to demonstrate economic principles. Who knew the NFL salary cap would find its way into a high school classroom? You will also learn how he develops empathy for his students starting on day one and how he uses this to create a class that addresses their economic anxieties.

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