Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Teaching Financial Literacy Part 3: Lesson Ideas

This is the third and final post in a series I've written about teaching financial literacy in the secondary classroom. PART 1 gave an overview of the units in the semester course I teach and PART 2 is a list of helpful financial resources for students in the classroom and beyond. I've been asked to present a workshop at the Maine Jump$tart Coalition "Fostering Financial Literacy in Maine Schools" conference, which provided just the motivation I needed to finish this post!

Today I've put together what I hope will be a helpful compilation of my favorite assessments & activities that I've actually used in my classroom! I've created many of the items below from scratch, and as such they are really tailored to my units and my students. Teachers, you can download the items via the links provided and amend them to suit your needs (they are saved as Word documents as it's what was easiest for me). These resources are for personal classroom use only and shouldn't be sold. If they are linked or shared, please give credit! Be kind and thoughtful people! 

Budget Project: 
Students are asked to create a budget based on a minimum wage income. They must apply concepts we've learned throughout our budgeting unit to calculate their monthly net income, find an apartment within their budget, and grocery shop and meal plan with healthy food options. If the point of minimum wage is to live a 'decent life', one should be able to find a decent place to live and eat healthy foods on that income. This project leads to a lot of great discussions about life on minimum wage. The project descriptor can be found here.

Identify Theft Public Service Announcements:
This group project asks students to first research some common methods thieves use to steal identities then create a short PSA video. The projector descriptor can be found here.

Consumer Savings Flyers:
Students are asked to research ways consumers can save money on their everyday expenses. I've broken the research topics into four categories, dividing up the students so they aren't all choosing the same topics to research. Students then create flyers with main ideas and elaborate on their ideas in a voice recording formatted into a QR code and placed on their flyers. They walk around and listen to one another's flyers, getting tips on how to save money! The project can be found here.

Egg Hunt Trivia:
This can really be used with any topic and any subject. Place vocabulary terms on slips of paper and put inside plastic eggs. Hide the eggs around the classroom and watch your students go crazy! Once they all have eggs, have them open and provide the definition for the term before claiming their prize.

Name Brand vs Store Brand Taste Test:
Within our budgeting unit I do a lesson on whether or not it's worth it to spend extra money on name brand items instead of store/generic brands. I show a slideshow with some overview information on why there's a price difference and then we do a taste test. Students walk around the room tasting the name brand and the store brand versions of various foods and guess which is which, also denoting if they really had a preference or could taste any difference. We also discuss the fact that many generic medicines and cosmetics have the exact same ingredients as their name brand counterparts. The worksheet I have the students use for this activity can be found here.

Minimum Wage Socratic Seminar
This is a great discussion based assessment that asks students to use knowledge from lessons throughout our money management unit to prep for a Socratic seminar (student led discussion). Students conduct research on the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage and we also watch the 'Minimum Wage' episode of the docu-series '30 Days'. The assessment descriptor can be found here and the Socratic guide can be found here.

Ivory Tower Socratic Seminar
At the end of our 'Funding your Future' unit, students watch the film Ivory Tower about our nation's post secondary college system and asks 'is college worth it'? Students then prep for a Socratic seminar by completing this response guide.

Financial Qs Speed Dating Activity
For this activity students sit in two rows facing one another and randomly choose a question out of a bowl in front of each pair. They have about two minutes (or however long you want to give them) to discuss the question before one row of students gets up and moves one seat over, facing a new partner. Then a new question is chosen by each pair and they discuss. Repeat! The questions I use can be found here.

Financial Interview
At the start of the semester, I ask students to interview an adult about their experiences with money and finances. After they've all completed the interviews, I have them share the responses on chart paper all around the room (one piece for each question). If someone has already written a similar idea, students are asked to put check marks next to the idea, which helps us visually see the most popular and similar responses amongst all of the interviewees. This is a great activity for setting up the important financial literacy skills we will learn throughout the semester. The interview questions I use can be found here. Please note, I also teach a 'citizenship' unit in this course, so a few questions pertain to that topic.

Valentine's Day Romance Scams
On Valentine's Day this year I did a lesson on the most common types of 'romance scams' and how to avoid them. We read a couple articles and also watched a few YouTube clips from the Dr. Phil show on of unfortunate people who were victims of such scams. Next year I may have students create their own Valentine's cards featuring common romance scams and then have them give the cards out to their classmates! The video about romance scams can be found here and the article we read can be found here.

Dave Ramsey Video Roulette
When we have extra time, we like to go on YouTube and watch clips from the Dave Ramsey Show. I let the students vote on which clips they want to view next from the 'suggested videos' that pop up on the side bar. It's a fun way to hear a variety of financial issues as well as Dave's no nonsense advice!

Online Simulations
Two online simulations that my students love to play are SPENT and PAYBACK. The first challenges students to make it through the month without going broke after having lost their job/home and tackling all the challenges life can send their way. The latter asks students to make a variety of financial choices as they navigate their way through college. We usually play both of these simulations as a class because it's fun to discuss which choices they want to make and why (majority vote determines which choice is made).

NextGen Personal Finance 'Budgeting with Roommates'
NGPF is one of my favorite resources for lessons and activities and a favorite of my students' is their budgeting with roommates activity. Students work in small groups and each take on a fictitious persona as they try to collectively make decisions about who will take which room, pay which bill, and create a workable and fair plan for living together. They have so much fun with this activity and I love listening to their discussions and rational for the choices they make!

Unique Scholarships 'Oprah Moment'
Who can forget the moment Oprah gave a car to every member of her studio audience?! Well, I don't have that kind of budget to work with, however, during our unit on the cost of college I print off a whole bunch of unique and unusual scholarships onto small slips of paper, then tape the pieces of paper under each seat in my classroom. In the middle of my lesson on financial aid, I tell the students they've all "won" a scholarship (make sure the use appropriate air quotes) and ask them to look under their chairs. They each take turns reading and sharing the weird scholarships they "won". It's a fun and silly way to break up the lesson and to reinforce the idea that there really are so many scholarships out there for just about everyone! The scholarship list can be found here.

Teaching financial literacy can be so much fun and really offers a lot of opportunity to be creative and ask your students to apply what they're learning in a variety of ways! As always, if you'd like to keep up with my daily adventures in teaching and home renovating, you can find me on Instagram @craftyteacherlady! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Home Renovation Update: 1 Year Later

I can't believe it's already been a year since I moved into my fixer upper! In some ways, the house has completely transformed and yet there still seems to be so many little 'to do' items left on the list (like installing baseboard trim, changing out all the brass door knobs and hinges, and replacing the outlet and radiator covers). The bigger projects completed included a new kitchen, new half and full bathrooms, refinished hardwood floors upstairs, new laminate installed throughout the main floor, new lighting, and new paint inside and out. I hope to write separate posts with more details for each room in the house like I did for the master bedroom-the first room to actually be completed so I could have at least one pretty, comfortable, renovation-free place to seek respite while the rest of the house was in shambles. For now, here are a few transformation photos of each room to mark this special one-year renovation anniversary! You can find many of the items seen in the 'after' photos on my Amazon Favorites page. Hopefully this makes it easier to 'shop my house'!
DIY Home Renovation Projects

The Kitchen/Dining Room
What was once two separate spaces, the kitchen and dining room became one when a wall was removed. This not only opened up the space for entertaining, it also allowed for more light in the kitchen since the dining room has three large windows. 

The Living Room
 This is the room that really 'sold' me on this house. I saw so much potential in the fireplace and built-ins. It's a large room, great for entertaining, but somehow it also feels cozy. The biggest transformation was definitely painting the fireplace and adding faux shiplap to the walls. Wall color in this room is Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams.

The Bathrooms
Both the full bath and the downstairs half bath were complete gut jobs from floor to ceiling. Wood plank walls & beadboard were added as well as new vanities and lighting. Both rooms still need some finish work, including caulking, painting, trim and replacing the radiator covers. Vanities are the 'Newport' Home Decorators Collection from Home Depot. I've also found a similar option here

Half Bath

Master Bedroom
As I mentioned above, I set to work on the master bedroom right away because I wanted at least one finished space while the renovation chaos was happening in the rest of the house. Wall color is Window Pane by Sherwin Williams. Head on over to this post to see more photos and details of this space. 

Guest Room
This house actually has 4 bedrooms so I have lots of space for two dedicated guest rooms and a craft room! I've only decorated one guest room so far...the wall color is one of my all time favorites- Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. I also incorporated a lot of antique and thrifted finds in this room! 

Craft Room
Although I plan to add a fun rug, install the radiator covers, and actually arrange the gallery wall (rather than just randomly throwing in some frames I already had), my craft room is coming along quite nicely! Both the table and dresser were thrifted finds that I repainted and I also painted and reupholstered the chair from a thrifted find! The wall color is Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams. 

Exterior Projects
The outside of the house was painted in Pussywillow by Sherwin Williams with a minty blue color for the doors called Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore. While I really wanted to add a farmer's porch to the front, it just wasn't in the budget. I did have the front door replaced and added new moldings around the doors. The lighting on the exterior was also updated from brass to galvanized barn lights. Those small changes were relatively inexpensive ways to improve the overall curb appeal. I have plans to paint the concrete front steps as well as the covered side entrance porch. But, those project will have to wait for warmer weather! 

Looking back on all of these 'before' photos reminds me just how far we've come...and by 'we' I mean both the house and myself. In this house I've tackled so many new projects that I had never done before including building custom pantry shelves, installing a plank wall, and attempting to refinish hardwood floors (it did not go well...but I'll save that for another post)! I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment whenever I tackle something new, and I think that's why I enjoy renovating so much. I also really enjoy the creative process of seeing past the mess and envisioning how to turn a house into a home! I can't wait to see what this place looks like in another year!

Catch me over on Instagram to see what project I'm currently tackling!

Stylish and Affordable Lighting Options

It's been one year since moving into my little fixer upper and in that time, A LOT of decisions have been made. There were flooring choices, paint colors, bathroom fixtures and of course, lighting. Since the entire house was/is being renovated, I spent a lot of time searching for stylish but affordable light fixtures. I ended up purchasing most of my lights from Amazon because I found they had a wide variety of options at budget-friendly prices!
affordable lighting options

My aesthetic is sort of a combination of "industrial-meets-vintage-meets-farmhouse" so in other words, pretty eclectic! I wasn't afraid to mix metals, either, so I've got a combination of brushed nickel, flat black, and galvanized metals throughout the house.

galvanized barn light

Most of the lights I ended up purchasing were flush mount or semi-flush mount since I had relatively low ceilings. Below is a roundup of some of my favorite light fixture finds. Click on the numbers below to take you directly to each source!
affordable lighting options

industrial lighting options

1      2       3      4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18

If you'd like to see more frequent home renovation posts, please feel free to check me out on Instagram! You can also shop some of the favorite items in my house on my 'favorites' page!
Happy Renovating!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Teaching Financial Literacy Part 2: Financial Resources

This is the second post in my 'Teaching Financial Literacy' series and today I'd like to address my former personal finance students! You can also listen to a podcast interview where I address my experiences teaching personal finance HERE

Hey Kids,

Do remember when you were in SPFC (Senior Personal Finance & Citizenship) and didn't know if you'd ever use the information we were learning? Well, many of you have reached out to me since you've graduated and are now in the 'real world', navigating this 'adulting' thing! You've shared your successes with me (renting your first place, voting, opening up a checking account) and have also asked me to provide a list of resources we used in class! This post is for YOU! And just like I wrote on the last page of your final exam, "I'M ROOTING FOR YOU"! Keep in touch!


Miss Rush

Practical Money Skills  (Helpful Financial Calculators)
If you are thinking about buying a car, taking out a loan, saving for a big-ticket item, or want to compare interest rates, this is my FAVORITE source to play around with various calculators.

Better Money Habits Videos (Great Refresher Videos)
These videos from Bank of America in partnership with Khan Academy provide a great overview of a variety of financial topics. Watch them to refresh your memory on the various topics we covered in class!

Dave Ramsey's Budget Calculator
I'm sure you remember using Dave's spending categories and percentages when creating budgets in class! Here's a link to his budget calculator (you will have to create an account but it's free). You can also download the 'EveryDollar' app to create a budget on your phone!

Federal Trade Commission (Consumer Protection)
As you may remember, you are entitled to a FREE credit report check from each of the three main credit reporting agencies once per year. On this site you can find the link to access your credit report and well as information about reporting identify theft and protecting yourself from fraud!

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Along the same lines as the resource above, this website from the federal government has resources to help protect you as a consumer (as the title indicates)!

FAME (Finance Authority of Maine)
A great resource about paying for college, filling out the FAFSA, and general money management from a Maine organization.

College Reality Check (Comparing College Data)
This is the resource we used when comparing net price, average loan payment, graduation rates, etc. of various colleges. If you are trying to find the best 'bang for your buck' and want to see how your school compares to others, use this interactive website!

 (name brand vs store brand taste test activity)

(listening to & reading student 'consumer savings tips' projects)

Do Something.Org (Volunteer Opportunities)
Although not personal finance related, I feel compelled to link up this really great resources to help further your civic mindedness and encourage you to get out there and make a difference in your community (wherever that may be at this point)! Simply input how much time you have and some of your interests and a list of volunteer opportunities in your area will be created!

Voting Information for Maine Residents
I'm not sure where you may be living at this point, but this is the resource we used in class for determining who is eligible to vote and where to vote if you are living in Maine. If you are out of state, go to your state's website and to find similar information.

Political Typology Quiz (Pew Research Center)
This is the quiz you took on your own to help you determine where your views fall on various social and economic issues. The Pew Research Center is a non-partisan you remember what 'non-partisan' means? :)

(field trip to listen to the Maine gubernatorial debate in Portland)

The information above are some of the 'most requested' resources and should provide a great overview of the major topics covered in our personal finance & civics course. There are endless amounts of information on the web to help navigate the world of personal finance but hopefully this list will provide a great place to start!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Thrift Store Teacher Outfit Ideas

One of my favorite back-to-school traditions is going shopping for 'new' teacher clothes at all of my local Goodwill stores. I take a day and make the rounds to 5 or 6 of my area stores in search of great bargains on stylish & professional outfits! Upon looking through my closet recently, I noticed that at least 50% of my current wardrobe came from thrift stores. I often receive compliments on my outfits from my high school students as well as colleagues, which is proof that you can in fact be stylish and professional without spending a fortune! As a personal finance teacher, thrift shopping has also provided me with a way to demonstrate consumer saving skills to my students! Let's take a peak inside my closet as I offer some thrifty teacher outfit inspiration!

Thrifted Teacher Style Ideas

The outfit shown above includes a thrifted eyelet sheath dress and a cardigan, both originally from Old Navy, and paired with a belt and sandals that I already had in my closet (not thrifted). I love to mix thrifted pieces with pieces I already own to create new looks. The sheath dress and the cardigan are both staple pieces that can easily be mixed and matched with other items. Below I've paired the same red sandals with some fun printed pants found at Goodwill!

Teacher Outfit Ideas

Teacher Outfits

The outfit above, including the boots, was entirely thrifted at Goodwill! The green sweater from the first outfit was paired again with a cute printed dress and tights. Adding tights or leggings is a great way to transition pieces from warmer months to those dreaded colder winter months! Leggings/tights also help make items that may be on the shorter side a bit more appropriate for school.

My first stop inside any thrift store is the dress section. You really get more 'bang for your buck' with dresses because they are basically an entire outfit in one piece and are often easier to make fit since pants can be a bit tougher to find the right length, size, shape. The polka dot dress above is from LOFT originally but thrifted for $6 and paired with other items already in my closet.

The LOFT sweater dress above was found 'new with tags' at my local thrift store for $6!! Although the blazer wasn't thrifted, I've owned it for over 10 years and it's a great staple piece. I've seen lots of stylish blazers & jackets at Goodwill!

Both striped dress above were Old Navy dresses that were purchased at thrift stores. They make awesome wardrobe staples because they are great transition pieces! Pair with boots on the fall/winter or sandals in the spring/summer! They also make getting dressed in the morning really easy and are school appropriate because they cover up everything without sacrificing style & comfort!

Thrifted J. Crew wool skirt paired with items already in my closet!

 Pink printed skirt originally from J. Crew, $5 at Goodwill

 Dress originally from Target

It also helps to have some basic sewing skills when thrifting because if you can shorten a hemline on a dress or skirt, you take home more great deals! I'm really short so sewing a straight line with my machine and a basic hem with a needle and thread were essential skills to learn early on. The dress below fit perfectly except in the length which was easily remedied with a hand stitched hem!

 (Thrifted LOFT wrap dress)

 (Thrifted J. Crew Skirt)

 (The entire outfit above including the shoes was thrifted)

 I've even found some great evening/formal wear at Goodwill for great prices. The J. Crew silk taffeta dress above retails for over $200 new and I was able to purchase it for $10. The gold Banana Republic shoes were thrifted, too, and I wore this outfit to chaperone prom last year!

The outfit above is more like 'teacher on summer vacation style' but obviously Goodwill has some great pieces for more casual looks, too. The dress makes a great beach cover up and the Cole Haan sandals are one of my all time favorite Goodwill purchases!

 (A 'Casual Friday' look featuring a thrifted J. Crew ruffle button down paired 
with jeans and some nude pumps)

(Thrifted orange vest and plaid shirt, both from Target)

(Another more casual look above with dark denim jeans,  a 'hand me down' sweater from a friend, and thrifted Cole Haan wedges.) 

When I'm hunting for thrifted clothes, or really any clothes at all, I also like to purchase items that can be worn both at school and in my 'real life'. All of the thrifted items above could be dressed up or down and even the strapless dress can be paired with a cardigan to make it school appropriate. 

(A few of my favorite thrifted items! Cole Haan, LOFT, and even a Chanel jacket!)

Because I've found so many fantastic thrifted items, I find it difficult to go into other clothing stores to pay full retail price. Even the sales prices can't beat the prices I find at the thrift store! With a little bit of patience it is entirely possible to find great brand-name clothing and accessories at a budget-friendly price at the thrift store and you may just end up feeling pretty proud!

I post many of my 'teacher outfits of the day' over on Instagram! I hope to see you there!