NGPF Fellow Amanda Volz took a fairly basic activity from our bank — COMPARE: Making Credit Decisions — and made it her own. Now, she’s sharing the strategy, guaranteed to liven up your classroom, with you. As an added bonus, the activity she’s referring to is now available in Spanish, too, so some of your English Language Learners can participate fully in this discussion-based fun. Read on for Amanda’s guest blog post…

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As a personal finance instructor, how do you engage students in the material so it is engaging, relevant, and will stick with them into early adulthood?  This can be challenging, as students often come with oversimplified preconceptions based on little first hand knowledge of how the finance industry works.  

Imagine pushing a boulder up a hill.

Imagine you are trying to encourage a teenager to push the boulder.

Imagine the boulder is square.

Now you get it.

There is no doubt that financial literacy education is important, if not essential.  As adults, we realize the importance of not only understanding the concepts of personal finance, but being able to behaviorally implement this knowledge in everyday life.  NGPF creates resources that put the real world first.  They are current, innovative, relevant, and can be used in a collaborative, blended, or traditional teaching environment.  

Recently, I implemented the Compare: Making Credit Decisions activity into my classroom.  At first glance, this looks like a traditional worksheet activity.  With very few changes to the document, I implemented this activity in a jigsaw format using the Kagan strategy “Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up.”  Students started in partner groups facing each other.  We read the first scenario as a class and students worked through the first option by discussing it with their partner for approximately three minutes.  We then shared out the pros and cons of each option as a class and I helped fill in the blanks in areas they did not think of.  Students then had to implement the Kagan strategy and stand up, put their hand up, and walk around the room until they found a different partner they had not yet worked with.  We then read the next scenario as presented in the activity.  Students had three minutes to discuss the pros and cons with their partner and then we discussed as a class.  The cycle repeated until we reached the end of the activity.  Conducting the activity/worksheet this way allowed students to move around the room, get out of their seats, work with various classmates, freely brainstorm, and collaborate as a class.

This is only one example of how I have integrated the NGPF materials into my classroom.  Their resources are varied and can be adapted for multiple teaching and learning styles.  The lessons, activities, projects, case studies, and video resources can be a stepping off point or the entire lesson depending on the depth necessary for the curricular needs.  Although I put a tiny twist on this resource to further engage the learner, it shows how versatile their materials are.  NGPF is a resource that all personal finance instructors should be using.  

While educators continually encourage students to keep pushing the boulder up the hill, NGPF is circling the square and making the task for teachers a more level playing field in teaching the concepts of personal finance.

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Thanks for sharing, Amanda!