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Posts tagged ‘economics’

What I Eat, Hungry Planet, Material World. Your geography curriculum in three gorgeous books

I’m not exactly sure where I was or what I was doing when I first ran across Peter Menzel’s first book, Material World, A Global Family Portrait. Pretty sure it was some sort of social studies conference years ago and a vendor had some poster size images from Material World. And I was captured.

The images were powerful. The text informative and engaging. The teaching and learning possibilities endless.

It was a simple concept. Read more

Tip of the Week: Financial Literacy

Yes. I’m sure you’ve heard.

The Kansas House of Representatives introduced a bill about two weeks ago requiring a personal financial literacy program as a requirement for high school graduation. Not a bad idea at all. Of course, later amendments to the bill dropped the graduation prerequisite and added the requirement that schools teach “the importance and execution of an effective professional handshake.”

So . . . look out, global economy. Meet a kid with a firm grip and who looks you square in your eye? You know that’s a Jayhawk.

All semi-kidding aside, the intent of the Kansas House was spot on. Kids do need to a strong knowledge of economics and personal finance. Lucky for them April is Financial Literacy Month.

financial-literacy-after-high-schoolIf you’re in the need of some financial literacy ideas, Read more

Classroom Clues: K-6 Lit to teach economics

What I know about economics and personal finance? Think of the smallest possible measuring container and what I know about economics and personal finance would probably come close to filling that container.

Think of that Sam Cooke song – “Don’t Know Much About History.” Replace history with economics. That’s me.

I never had an official econ course in my life. Yeah. I know. If it makes you feel better, I have had some economics workshops and I know a lot of very smart economics people. (Looking at you Brian Richter.)

So this morning was a huge learning opportunity for me. Angela Howdeshell from the Kansas Council for Economics Education spent two hours with our social studies PLC group.

Awesome stuff.

Angela shared all sorts of great ideas and free goodies with teachers. She highlighted  some of the handy stuff on both the KCEE site as well as the national economics site.

And she shared a site I hadn’t seen before. Read more

EverFi, online sims, and personal financial ed


I’ll admit it. I’m not a big fan of most personal finance classes. They usually are poorly organized, poorly taught, and are often much too long. A full year of personal finance required for graduation? Really?

But I will also admit the need for some sort of personal finance training for kids.

Credit card bills, debt, saving, and financing higher education are often not on the minds of most of your students. But the financial decisions they make today will have a long-term impact on their lives. A weak understanding of how finances work can jeopardize their ability to succeed later on in life.

The answer? Some sort of curriculum that will actually engage kids so they walk away with some applicable knowledge and skills. EverFi seems like that sort of answer.

Read more

New Kansas State Social Studies Standards

I feel a bit like the Founding Fathers at the 1787 Constitutional Convention might have felt. They showed up in Philadelphia with the stated intent of tweaking the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they ditched the Articles and went straight to the Constitution.

Today was the first meeting of the Kansas State History/Government Standards Revision Committee. The stated intent? Tweak the current state standards.

And while we don’t have James Madison or Benjamin Franklin, the committee truly is a collection of Kansas Social Studies studs. Michael Ortman, Brian Richter, Nathan McAlister, Anneliece Kowalik are just a few of the incredibly talented educators in the room.

What happened when the committee got together? They basically pushed the current document aside and went straight to the 21st century standards equivalent of the Constitution – standards that will drive quality instruction and quality assessment. And there was lots of great conversation today that revolved around what the standards document should contain and how it should look.

One of the first decisions made by the group was to organize the new standards around Big Ideas and Essential Questions. Of course, we then had to write the Big Ideas. I’ve pasted our first draft below.

If you were creating a K-12 social studies standards document that will integrate history, geography, government and economics, what additions and subtractions would you make?

Big Ideas

  • Choices have consequences
  • Individuals have rights and responsibilities within societies
  • Diversity and commonality shape and enrich societies
  • Beliefs and ideas shape people’s thinking and actions
  • Competition for resources and power creates conflict and cooperation
  • Societies progress and decline
  • People are interdependent
  • Societies have similarities and differences that change over time
  • The relationship between people, places and environment is dynamic
  • Multiple causations and perspectives exist


Update September 27

Big Ideas second draft

  • Choices have consequences.
  • Individuals have rights and responsibilities.
  • Society is shaped by beliefs, ideas and diversity.
  • Societies experience continuity and change over time.
  • The relationships among people, places and environment are dynamic.
  • Thinking and literacy skills are essential to active 21st century citizenship.


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The 12-year-old girl who changed the world

The most recent Time magazine focuses on the ongoing revolution in Egypt and has some amazing coverage about the events unfolding in Cairo. But the most interesting article for me is on the last page.

Nancy Gibbs describes another form of revolution – one with the potential to have a much larger impact than what’s happening in Egypt. It’s called the Girl Effect. The Girl Effect is the idea that we can change the world by improving conditions for young girls living in poverty.

In much of  Africa, fewer than 20% of girls make it to secondary school. One of every seven girls living in developing countries are married before age 15, almost 50% by the time they are 18. These girls get pregnant and then . . . many of them die.

The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it’s because of complications from pregnancy.  Their babies are likely to die as well. Those that survive are still at risk for physical and sexual abuse. 75% of all 15-24 year-olds living with HIV in Africa are girls.

By providing education and safe places, things look different. Educated girls marry four years later. In Mozambique, for example, 60 percent of girls without an education marry before age 18 versus 10% of their educated counterparts. Education also means they have fewer children and earn up to 25% more.

The cool thing about the extra money earned by females? They reinvest 90% of their income into their families vs. only 30% for males.

So what?

There are things we can do. GirlUp and GirlEffect provide information and ways for kids in the US to help raise money that is funneled towards youth programs around the world, programs that specifically target girls. (Find additional info at the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.) One of the ways that kids can help is by using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and texting to connect people with information.

GirlUp director Elizabeth Gore says

This generation of 12-to-18-year-olds are all givers. They gave after Katrina. They gave after the tsunami and Haiti. More than any earlier generation, they feel they know girls around the world.

As little as five dollars can make a difference. Hygiene products in Malawi or school supplies for girls in Ethiopia. Medicine at a health clinic in Guatemala. Education efforts in Liberia.

So . . . looking for a great community service project? An engaging way to teach world geography? A strategy to use in your current events class? Head over to GirlUp.

The life your kids touch may be the twelve year-old girl who changes the world.

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