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! 

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