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Monday, June 26, 2017

Life or Debt


Finally, it is here!  Some of my colleagues have been after me to write up the details of a simulation that I created last year for teaching financial literacy.  Well, now that I have successfully defended my dissertation (yes - I am now Dr. Kaiser 😎), I finally had time to sit down and put it all together.

I will give you a brief overview and then you can go grab the PDF from my website.

The challenge is for students to end the school year "debt-free".  

As the teacher, you are going to make this a difficult task - just like IRL (in real life).

There are 2 main costs for starting up this simulation.
1. Journals for every student.  These can be composition notebooks, spirals, 3 ring binders, or just some paper in a folder.  

2. Purchase the pro version of the Random Name Selector app.  
Note: I do not receive anything for promoting this app.  Other apps may work but this is the one I used and I thought it was well worth the upgrade fee.

I like to start the simulation during the first week of school.  I try to choose certain days of the week and stick to it.  For example: Friday is pay day.  Monday is a life event.  The 3rd Friday of the month is when mortgage and transportation costs are due.  In the pictures you can see students tracking their income and expenses.




If you are interested in learning more and want to download this FREE unit, all you have to do is head over to my website.  Scroll down the page and locate the "Life or Debt" simulation.  If you decide to give it a try, I would really love some feedback.  

Do you have questions you want answered? Please feel free to ask them in the comments.

Looking for more implementation tips after download the unit?  Feel free to contact me directly using the contact form on my website.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Math Meet-ups


Have your students taken a benchmark test recently?  Do you have a limited time to review the questions with them before turning in the "secure test materials"? Would you like a different way to review that involves the students as leaders and lets you, "the teacher",  take a backseat? I've got just the thing... Math Meet-ups.  The idea isn't new. It's really the same as stations, centers, rotations, task cards, etc.  The big difference is that a student is in charge of each question and does the models their solution for their peers.
WARNING: This took A LOT more preparation than I originally anticipated. BUT... it was really worth it.

First, I created a short video, in Adobe Spark, that all 5 teachers played for the students in order to explain the process. Second, I created a Powerpoint slideshow with timings to manage the rotations from question to question. (3 minutes per question and 30 second transitions).
Step 3 involved assigning the student leaders to a question that they had correct on the assessment.
Step 4 required assigning each student to the questions that they missed in an order that ensured no more than 5 students were assigned to any one question at a time.  This was by far the trickiest part of the planning!
Step 5 was the creation of a record keeping sheet personalized for each student to write down the notes as each question was modeled.

None of what we did was very fancy.  We put up some posters on the classroom doors so that students would know which questions were being modeled in which rooms.  Each student leader had the question number displayed for students to know where to go, as well.  Student leaders used a dry erase board and shared their strategies. The other students asked questions and reviewed their own work to see where they went wrong.

At first, things were chaotic. After a couple of rotations, the students knew what they were doing and everything was smooth sailing after that.
Once we finished, the teachers each debriefed in their classrooms and the students overwhelmingly agreed that they preferred the Monday Math Meet-up to a traditional teacher led review.  They also gave us helpful feedback to improve for next time. For example the transition time should probably be a little longer to give students who are switching classrooms time to get to their next question.

All in all, this strategy worked out pretty well and we will probably try it again in the future.