Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Micro Investing - A Question for Teens

 Here is an interesting micro investing concept that you might like to discuss with your students, it is called ACORNS.
Acorns co-founders Walter and Jeff Cruttenden have created a smart phone app which allows people to round up purchases and automatically invest spare change into a diversified portfolio. This app might change the way many of us invest.
A question for students to discuss might be: In light of all the stores that have been hacked into recently, how safe is this app? And would they consider using it as a way to invest – what are the pros and what are the cons?
Click on the links below for videos and news stories on ACORNS...

Spare Change Drive you Nuts? Trythe “Acorn”App
Source: Trish Regan and Matt Miller (Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart”)

Turn Spare Change into Big Bucks
Source: Hadley Malcolm (USA Today Young Money)

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An Engaging Personal Finance Lesson for the Spring

OhhhMy First Car is a great assignment for keeping kids interested, especially at the end of the school year when the weather warms and their thoughts drift off to summer break. They may even be thinking about tooling around in their dream car with their best friend or girlfriend. If you need a lesson to keep your students focused check out OhhhMy First Car. It’s the kind of lesson that grabs kids’ attention and holds it all the way through. Read more...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Investing Terms Investing Terms lesson is part of a dynamite unit on Investing. The complete unit is a great hands-on way to teach students the ins and outs of researching, selecting, and tracking stock and mutual funds. The unit is loaded with fun, hands-on assignments, informative presentations, crosswords, and on-line flashcards, games and quizzes. And it all begins with and builds from the Investing Terms assignment.
The Investing Terms lesson is a three-part lesson that covers basic investing terms used on the New York Stock Exchange, and is designed to aid students in analyzing stock summaries, charts and graphs in later assignments.  It is packed full of reinforcing activities, like crosswords, on-line flashcards, games and quizzes.

The basic terms introduced in the Investing Terms assignment lay the foundation for what is to come as the unit progresses.

Companion assignments to review, reinforce and assess include ...

These 60 task cards are a fun way to reinforce the terms that were introduced to students in the Investing Terms assignment. Questions include multiple choice, short answer and true and false. The cards can be used individually, in small groups or as a whole class challenge type of game. Eleven wildcards are included to Rev Up the excitement!
This test is a companion to the Investing Terms assignment. The 59-question test is a good mix of matching, multiple choice and true/false questions.

Monday, April 7, 2014

2 Great Personal Finance Lessons

If you are teaching personal finance and need a starting point I hope you had the chance to download my popular and FREE Wonderful Life assignment. It has been downloaded over 1300 times at Teachers Pay Teachers and is a great way to get students thinking about their personal goals and their future. Click here to read more...

Personal Finance Conversation Starters for Teens
is another popular lesson with students.  The conversation starters are a fun way to get kids talking about the money issues that we all face in our daily lives.  There are really no right or wrong answers and you never know where the conversation will lead.  That makes it all the more fun. In answering these questions students bring their unique perspective and life experiences to the table and learn from each other.
Just imagine them discussing topics like...

”Some adults have a lot of trouble saving money.  If you were asked to give them advice about saving what would you say?”

“What is your worst fear about money?”
The conversation starters were written with 8th – 12th grade students in mind.  They can be used for small group or whole class discussion.  They can also be assigned as a short journal writing assignment.  

The 160 conversation starters are designed as 3 ¾ x 3 ¼ cards that can be laminated and used throughout the school year.  It is great fun to let students choose a card at random, never knowing what the question will be in advance.
The topics covered include: saving, spending, investing, goals, career choices, college, starting a business, charities, retirement, wills, job loss, the cost of health care and even bankruptcy.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

National Financial Literacy Month 2014

April is Financial Literacy month here in the U.S.A.  In fact, all around the world countries are taking an interest in empowering young people with the tools they need to make good financial decisions. I have taught Personal Finance to teens for many years and I have never seen kids so eager to learn about money, saving, budgeting, investing, interest rates and credit card debt. I think the reason is that many of them have seen their parents struggle in hard economic times and that alone is enough incentive for them to take an interest in the topic.

If you are teaching Personal Finance for the first time and don’t know where to begin, below are some lessons that will help you get started.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wonderful Life Presentations

Wonderful Life Presentations - Setting Personal and Financial Goals!

If you and your students have been working on my "Wonderful Life" assignment right about now you are probably putting the finishing touches on the assignment.

A few things I like to do before presentations include...

I ask my students to edit and practice their presentations so they go smoothly.
I give them the option of self-editing or editing with a friend.
Right before presentations I talk about how hard it can be to get up in front of a class and present - just because we don't do it a lot.
I remind them to support each other, and we talk about how they can do that.

I ask students to print 2 copies of presentation handouts - 4 slides on a page.
As each student goes before the class to present they give me a copy of their handouts and keep a copy for themselves.
I use my copy for grading purposes, and they use their handouts as they give their presentation.
I also mention how important it is to speak loudly and clearly so everyone can hear their presentation, and how eye contact helps to hold the audience's attention.
I ask a student from my class, usually the day before presentations, to run the computer that is hooked up to the presentation hardware and software.
I usually project the presentation on the wall behind the student that is presenting. They use their handout notes to set the pace, and the student running the presentation on the computer follows their lead.

Presentations for a class of 32 usually take about three or four days. The first day is usually the slowest, and then the kids pick up speed.

That's about it. Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wonderful Life Assignment


A Lesson Designed to get Students Thinking about
Personal and Financial Goals!

I like to start the first week of school with a lesson I designed to get students thinking about their personal and financial goals “Wonderful Life”.  
This fun, interactive project gives students a chance to get to know each other while creating a presentation that reveals their goals regarding career, wages, and lifestyle.  It also sharpens their communication and presentation skills. As a culminating activity, each student presents their project to the class. It is a great first lesson.

Over 1300 teachers have download this FREE lesson from
Teachers Pay Teachers since January 1, 2013.  If you have not already grabbed it, here is the link... “Wonderful Life”.

Teaching “Wonderful Life

Now that so many teachers are using this lesson, I thought I would offer a few tips on how I teach “Wonderful Life.”
I like starting the class off with this assignment because it eases the students (and the teacher) into the class, and it is a fun way for everyone to get to know each other.  It gives the teacher a chance to spend some one-on-one time with students.  It also sets the stage for the rest of the course.

Teacher tips

When I begin this lesson I always show students a completed presentation.  My thinking is that students will create something as good or better than the sample I show them.
I review the features of the presentation software students will be using - if needed. 
I stress that students should give plenty of details on each of the topics included the presentation.
Topic: Describe your dream home
Example: My dream home is a log cabin located on a beautiful, blue lake high in the mountains.  Secretly it would be very a high-tech house---but have a rustic look.     
I also spend some time talking about page layout – organizing and designing easy to read headings, subheadings, and text, as well as graphics that drive your point home.  I talk about trapped white space and how to avoid it. I usually steer students away from using clip art - pictures just seem more sophisticated.
I tell students that they will be presenting their project and that it would be to their advantage not to use animations like flash or crawl.  These types of animations are really distracting.  “Crawl” loses the class because it takes too long and “flash” just confuses everyone including the teacher who is attempting to grade the presentation.


It takes about a week for students to complete this assignment and an additional three days for student presentations. This is my experience with a class of about 32 students.
Every class is different, as is every student. Some will take a little more time to complete the lesson and others will take less time. I ask students who finish early to spend time editing their presentation and adding sound and animation. This gives the rest of the class time to finish up.
Next Week...more on presentation setup for “Wonderful Life”.

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