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Incorporating Economics in the Elementary School Curriculum

ohagan Incorporating Economics in the Elementary School CurriculumBy Kathleen O’Hagan, Special Representative at the UFT, Former 4th Grade Teacher, 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Teaching Champion Awardee

Today’s public schools are tasked with so much to teach that it isn’t surprising that many essential skills are over-looked with the current focus on reading and math scores and standardized tests. What is often missed in this narrow focus is the impact that these other essential skills can have on reading and math instruction. The curriculum in the elementary school where I taught was of both high rigor and high caliber but it neglected economics to concentrate on reading and math. With this in mind, I recognized the need to bring this subject to our students, the majority of whom were English Language Learners (ELLs) or former ELLs. After the economy was hit hard in 2008, I wanted my students to learn more about saving for their futures and the many long-term benefits, versus the costs, of college but I didn’t know how to bring this instruction into my elementary classroom.

OHagan in the Classroom1 300x167 Incorporating Economics in the Elementary School CurriculumThe Council for Economic Education showed me how to incorporate these ideas into my classroom. It began when I took their course on how to create a mini-economy. With this training, I was able to make our class a place where students learned (as part of their math curriculum) how to keep bank accounts, act as bankers and store clerks, open pencil-loaning businesses, and also experience the real-life issues of rent, tickets, co-payments, unexpected expenses and price inflation. Then in the next year, my next class moved beyond just being consumers in a mini-economy to being producers by utilizing a three-dimensional printer to create the store stock and in the process began to investigate the issues of supply and demand in their mini-economy. Imagine their excitement when they were featured in an article about their mini-economy, not just the first class, but two classes, two years in a row! Talk about underscoring the importance of the economics they were learning!

Not surprisingly, the students’ reaction to this instruction was enthusiastic and they were utterly engaged. What was surprising was the powerful response from the parents who were delighted to have their students learning economic vocabulary such as deposit, withdrawal, expenses, goods, consumer, etc. and the real-life experiences of keeping a financial log and having to learn about delayed gratification if they wanted to save up their money for larger purchases in the future.

In addition to all of this economic instruction, we eventually added the element of debate, around economic topics which included: “Should the Penny Stick Around?” and in so doing, incorporated elements of reading and writing. My students learned the importance of research, interviews, and public speaking in addition to developing an understanding of the need to save for the future, but not just any future, THEIR future. The mini-economy was a success at getting even the most reluctant student out of the sidelines of learning and into the heat of debate. For example, my most reluctant writer would always have his essay ready so that he could be on one side of the debate when it was time to start talking about economic issues.

The mini-economy even outgrew our classroom and spread to other classes on the grade, including inter-visitations for debates. Most importantly, it empowered the students to feel confident about making financial decisions, understanding the importance of saving, and it even made the most reticent students outspoken about the importance of economics in their life. Economics instruction ultimately became embedded in the very math and reading skills that originally seemed to have no room for anything more and in so doing, equipped my students with the traditional skills taught as well as essential economic skills.

POSTED: April 17, 2015 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , ,

Financial Literacy Month Highlights

2014 financial literacy month Financial Literacy Month HighlightsApril is Financial Literacy Month, and it’s a great opportunity to reflect on both how far we’ve come, and what challenges remain in 2015. Over the past 12 months, four states—and counting—have adopted CEE’s National Standards for Financial Literacy. This follows a period of slow to no growth as shown in CEE’s 2014 Survey of the States, which found that a majority of states do not require that students receive education in economics or personal finance education. This increased momentum may signal that the tide has at last started to turn in the right direction.

For the next four weeks CEE and our affiliates will be conducting a full roster of events to shine a spotlight on the importance of economic and financial education.  Here are some of the highlights:

VP Financial Literacy Month HighlightsVantage Point: Real World Perspectives on the Economy
An insightful and engaging discussion with an esteemed panel of experts and leaders joined us for our second annual economic symposium. Featured speakers included Professor Greg Mankiw, who gave the keynote, and Esther George, President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, with an Update from the Fed.

 

Higher One, Money Matters On Campus
CEO and President Nan J. Morrison participated on a panel conducted by Higher One, sharing the results of their Money Matters On Campus survey.

State Council Events
Meanwhile, our state council affiliates have been working diligently to promote financial literacy carrying out a host of activities: the Ohio Council for Economic Education welcomed Jeff Immelt, (CEO, General Electric) as keynote speaker at their 2015 Awards Luncheon; and in Rhode Island, students and guests including U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin and State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, kicked off the month with a “‘Financial Frenzy’ Forum.”

bedtime math e1428507502789 Financial Literacy Month HighlightsMoney Math Mondays
New this year we’ll be featuring Money Math Mondays throughout the month, a series of financial literacy-related math problems for parents and kids created by the founder of Bedtime Math.

 

CEE Blog Features Leaders Promoting Financial Literacy
We are excited to share perspectives from some of the leading voices in economics and personal finance. Guest bloggers include Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH), Richard Cordray (Director, CFPB), David Wessel (Director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings), Raymond W. McDaniel, Jr. (President and CEO, Moody’s) and Kelli Grant (Consumer Reporter, CNBC.com). Be sure to tune in; we’ll be posting new articles every week!

 

 

POSTED: April 10, 2015 | BY: Annamarie Cerreta | TAGS: , , , , ,

CEE Launches Math in the Real World

Math in the Real World CEE Launches Math in the Real WorldThe Council for Economic Education has launched its newest resource: Math in the Real World. Math in the Real World contains interdisciplinary lessons aimed at teaching personal finance and economic concepts, all in the context of math lessons.

Math in the Real World includes lessons that range from “Break-Even Analysis” and “Profit Maximization” to lessons on payday loan expenses and building good credit.

Read more…

POSTED: December 8, 2014 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CEE Offers Free Online Assessment Center

online assessment center large CEE Offers Free Online Assessment Center

The Council for Economic Education is now offering the Online Assessment Center. The OAC is a free online resource that provides teachers with an easy and efficient way of measuring their students’ academic progress. It allows teachers to track real-time data on their students’ understanding of economic and financial concepts.
Read more…

POSTED: December 1, 2014 | BY: kwilliams | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Students Celebrate CEE’s 65th Birthday

In celebrating the Council for Economic Education’s 65th Birthday, we asked students to share their thoughts on the age of 65. CEE asked a group of K-12 students to finish the thought, “When I’m 65…” Watch them share their ideas and goals below!

happy birthday cee video Students Celebrate CEE’s 65th Birthday

Students like these have benefited from CEE since its creation in 1948. Since then, it has provided economic education and financial literacy to elementary, middle, and high school students throughout the nation. To do this, over the past 65 years CEE has focused on “educating the educators” and equipping them with the necessary resources so that students like those in the video have the ability to realize their dreams over the next 65 years.

POSTED: November 25, 2014 | BY: kwilliams | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kids on Economics

What do kids think about economics? Watch this video to see elementary, middle and high school students talk about the importance of understanding economics and personal finance principles. You’ll be surprised to see how insightful these kids are when they talk about viewing the world through economic lenses!

Watch Kid’s on Economics!

POSTED: November 18, 2014 | BY: Daniel Thompson | TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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