In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week 2015, NGPF is celebrating the hard work and commitment to personal finance education exhibited by our nation’s teachers by featuring just a few members of our NGPF educator community. 

Featured Teacher: Danielle Sawyer, Business Teacher & Co-advisor of the Business Honor Society

School: John F. Kennedy Memorial High School, Iselin, New Jersey

What is your favorite part of teaching personal finance?

My favorite part of teaching personal finance is that the content is relevant to students in their every day lives no matter what they plan to do beyond high school. I love that I am teaching them real world skills like how to open a bank account or write a check, and how to understand taxes, loans, and other important financial topics. And I especially love it when students come back saying they encountered the financial topics we covered out in the “real world”!

Share some details about your absolute best personal finance lesson.

One of the students’ favorite lessons is a hands on lesson on comparison shopping and unit pricing. We do a blind taste test of different products comparing the name brand to the store brand (for example, Oreos and the grocery store brand of chocolate sandwich cookies). Then, they calculate the unit price of each product to compare the price, finding they can save by purchasing the generic brand (and usually can’t tell the difference!). Of course they enjoy it because they get to eat, but I also think there is a valuable lesson to be learned.

What’s been your greatest accomplishment as a personal finance teacher?

My greatest accomplishment as a personal finance teacher was completing my Master’s thesis on the effect of video games in a personal finance class. I incorporated various games that corresponded with lessons I taught to assess the affect it had on students’ course performance. I learned a lot about some valuable tools to use in the classroom and the students benefitted from the incorporation of 21st century skills into their financial literacy coursework.

Danielle was one of our Financial Literacy Month Contest winners! Click here to learn more about the award winning project she created with a colleague! It involves budgeting and using spreadsheets — two of our favorites at NGPF!

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