Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snag-It for Chrome & Google Drive


This is pretty cool.  I have used Snag-it at school for years, but it is almost a pain as I have to go find it most of the time on my tools and I much prefer to have apps added to Chrome.  Well now I am all set as Snag-it has a Chrome add on that adds each item into your Google Drive account.  It lets you take the entire screen, parts of it and even movies and then annotate them.  Above is a video explaining how to use it. To found about it from TechSmith on Twitter

Why are Gas Prices Down?

Here are here are two economics explanations for the decrease in gas this year.  Reason #1 is that US consumption has declined every year since 2007 2) usage always declines in the fall 3) the Middle East is perceived as more stable 4) OPEC is unwilling to reign in production even with plunging world needs 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Economists' Top 2014 Videos

So the Economist is counting down its 2014 top videos which you can see on Twitter.  The top one above is the 7th most popular and basically says you have 30% less of a chance of getting a job you want if you have a visible tattoo.  The one below show the top GDPs for empires/countries in the last 2000 years.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Every Term in a 2 Minute Video and Written Explanation

If you were to come to my classroom, you would see my kids hard at work on their smart devices as those allow them to quickly look at their video notes (on Google Drive) as well as look for alternative explanations.  One site I have been using all fall is Investopedia.  Not only does it have most of our terms, but it also has a short explanation as well as a short video.

For example, here is what it has on perfect competition.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Free Online Micro/Macro Book

I am contemplating not using a physical textbook in AP economics next year as my students have been watching our daily videos and where they are lacking I have been adding supplemental material not to mention my students get out their smartphones in class and use them constantly when they are working on their problem sets.  For that, they both use their notes, which are in Google Drive, and whatever they can find on the Internet be it websites or videos.

But I just received an email from Matt Stefans who told me about OpenStax which has a complete book on economics.  At first glance it looks pretty good as it seems to cover all of the topics, has great graphics and a bunch of questions in each chapter.  It also has a table of contents which you can use to quickly get around the book as well as a search engine to bring you right to your topic.

So now you know what I will be doing in June which is to go through this textbook and see if it covers all the topics necessary as well as if one can find topics quickly enough.  So you know you can get the book as a downloadable pdf as well as see it as a html page which is what I have linked above. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ancillaries for the Krughman Book

Thanks to Chris Beales who teaches economics in Egypt.  We "met" on the AP Economics page on Facebook and are collaborating on some review assignments.  But he also told me about Krughman's review materials that are online and can be found here.  They include teacher resources (if you join for free and that only takes 48 hours to get approval) as well as self quizzes and flash cards.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Falling Ruble, Part II

Here is another post on the problems in Russia.  This NYTimes piece has some great graphics on the falling Ruble, falling oil prices and how this impacts (negatively) the yields on US Treasury bonds.

Items that you might be teaching in macro include
  • interest rates
  • Treasury bonds
  • tighter money supply
  • inflation

Learning Pod Needs Test Question Writers

Learning Pod has a tremendous number of resources including AP practice questions for your students.  But they are also a way for you to make extra money.  So if you go here you can apply to write questions for the AP content areas for social studies.  If you want to go to their site and see their resources, go here

Macroeconomics and Russia's Economy


Russia is suffering greatly, in part, due to the falling oil prices as the Ruble's value has been dropping precipitously.  Fifty percent of Russia's government's revenue comes from oil.  Above you can listen to the first two minutes of the talk from the Economist and here is a great article from the NYTimes which looks at several things taught in macroeconomics including selling of government assets abroad and raising the interest rate.   This is an article that I can use for both my economics' classes as well as comparative government. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

VideoNote.es for Flipped Video Notetaking


Normally I ask my students to split their screen, but this relatively (it came out last April) new app called Videonot.es that does that for you, putting the video on the left and the notes on the right.  It is then synced with Google Drive so it automatically (if you approve it to do so) puts the notes in your Google  Drive folder.  You will also note that whenever you begin taking notes, it shows where you are in the video and if you click on that line of  the notes, it will take you back to the relevant place in the video.  

It is also available for Google Apps so your students can get it in the free or paid Google Drive.

Above is a video showing you how to use it.

WeVideo for your Video Creations


My daughter is working with a friend of a class video for tomorrow. They took their video clips using my wife's smartphone and then uploaded them onto WeVideo and very easily combined their clips into one video. You can add music, words, images, fade in/out, cut items out, etc. It also is an app in Google Drive so you can then upload it straight into your account (to add it to Google Drive, go to "more" under docs, presentation, etc. and then it will always be on your drop down for programs with Google Drive.

Join Me in Spain for an In-Service

This July 12-13 I am teaching a two day institute on the Mediterranean Sea coat near Marbella in Spain (very near Gibraltar).  The course will be two full days in which where we will be designing lesson plans to personalize learning for your students.  This means we will learn how to create a flipped video and what to do in the classroom once that is done including giving immediate feedback as well as giving formative evaluations.  Finally we will expand your own school PLC to one online so that you can follow-up the session with more collaboration and ideas well after the institute is over.  If you are interested, please go here to sign up for the course.  There is a considerable discount if you sign up by the middle of February.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Education Week Post

Way back in August Larry Ferlazzo asked me to respond to one of his reader's queries which was posted today.  The post looks at "interactives"  which allow students to work in class on "problem sets" where the teacher can walk around the room and act as a facilitator rather than as a passive lecturer.   Interactives are which are explored in my upcoming book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  The quote above is from the article but it really comes from a wonderful woman who taught my methods class back when I was learning to be a teacher.  While I have long since lost forgotten her name, the charge she gave us to keep up with student learning as it has evolved as not been forgotten by me in the twenty-five years since she said it to me.  

Mastery Learning Discussion and Examples


I believe watching my own children grow has helped to make me a better teacher.  For example my son is a very good gamer, but he is also very good at failing.  By that I mean he is willing to fail as many times as it takes to master a game which leads to his mastering the material and then moving on to another one.  It strikes me that I need to emulate my son's learning with all of my classes.  By that I mean I have mostly flipped my classes and so have much more time to move around the classroom helping my students.  While we are on a unit I also allow students to correct work again and again and consequently have no late grades and have mostly moved beyond a textbook in three of my four content classes and have set up an individualized learning model (see my book about this).  So it strikes me that I need to fully move to a standards based learning model as the last part of my educational evolution.  So in that move, you are going to see lots of videos and examples of mastery learning as I teach myself and fumble through this process.

So above my musings is a video overview of how mastery learning works in any classroom.  It is a great overview to explain the process and even does something no one has ever done for me which is to define mastery learning.  Below this writing is a video my fellow blogger, Frank Franz, made for his back to school flip parent video.  Watch it closely as it has not only an explanation of flipped learning (which really is the bedrock of mastery learning), but also how he carries out mastery learning, both in terms of objectives, daily learning, grading and, finally showing mastery.  The key, as I am learning, is that if the child is motivated, he/she can redo anything and potentially show better mastery.  But this means that the child might have additional (to the videos) learning and therefore need more motivation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ATC and Airlines

This is an interesting article I am sharing with my students (and then making them draw a diagram) that tells how the (variable) cost of fuel has gone down greatly and that because of this the airlines expect to see record increases in profit.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Game Theory in NY Schools

One thing I like to do is to connect what we are studying to the real world.  So that is why this article from the NYTimes is so great as it deftly explains game theory and matching students to select schools in the NY public schools.  The first year, for example, it was used in 2004, the number of unmatched students went from 31,000 to 3000.   The school system used several well known economists including a Nobel Prize winner to do the trick and created an algorithm to help. 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Externalities



There are no end of examples of externalities.  For example when one builds a home, there are costs incurred on society such as schools, police, roads, etc. that are not completely (actually only minimally) by the developers.  But on the flip side having a snow blower in the winter has positive externalities (assuming the owner loans it to the neighbors).  Above is the best video I can find find explaining externalities.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Real Life Example of Monopsomy


There has only been one FRQ question on monopsony which was back in 1999, but that just makes it ripe for another appearance on the AP exam again.  Above is how Amazon might be considered one since it is the major (monopsony is the only one and generally it is for labor) buyer of books and, perhaps, soon other things.

Below is an AC/DC video on what it is.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google Classroom

If you have your students work in Google Drive, a new way to do it is through Google Classroom.  It allows you to see who has turned in what and when.  You do have to have a Google Apps for Education account as do your students.  The key to the video above is that you can see both the teacher and the students accounts side by side above. 

Gini Coefficient and the Lorenz Curve


My students are going over the Lorenz Curve and the Gini coefficient on Friday and using the video above.  An alternative is this one.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Zaption to Personaliza Your Flipped Videos


Thanks to Scott Nichols for this tip.  Zaption allows you to take any YouTube or Vimeo video, edit them, add questions, text and images and then share it with your students using a url.  It is also free! Below is a video explaining how to do it. 

#APEconomcs Hashtag

A hashtag is a place on Twitter where people go to discuss items and receive information.  If you go to the search engine and type in "#APEconomics" you will find another place where you can ask questions and get answers - much as you would on the AP Economics' page in Facebook.  Just keep your comments to 140 characters.  

Facebook AP Econ Page

There is a growing community amongst AP Economics' teachers on Facebook.  If you search for "AP Economics Teacher" you will find our page.  A lot of newer teachers have been asking questions and a lot of veterans are responding with assignments, links, videos. etc.  Right now we are 155 members and growing. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monopoly, Monopolistic and Perfect Competition


Wow this is a great video from Welker's economics.  It shows side by side diagrams of perfect competition, monopolistic competition and monopoly.  It also very nicely explains productive and allocative efficiency.   Start at 3:30 and to through 10:30 to get the main facts. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quizlet and Studying for Tests

Admittedly one needs to know a lot more than just vocabulary in economics, but it is certainly a place to start.  So one thing you can do is to have your students use Quizlet to see if they know all of their vocabulary.   Quizlet allows students to use traditional flash cards as well as a number of learning games.  You can even set it up for your class and each student can compete against one another.   Above is an example of factors of production.  You can choose to make the cards yourself, have your students do so or even just use someone else's as I have done here.  But if you go with the last choice, make sure you like each card.  Alternatively, if you set up an account, you could make a copy of someone else's cards and then make them exactly the way you want them.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Remind Your Students Using Texts


Today I found an article on the Washington Post that goes with along with what some of my students are doing for homework.  So, today I sent them the link to the article and was able to do it because all of my students voluntarily sign up for Remind.com because they like the reminder.  You can send a simple text and even add an attachment and, if you want to, put it on Twitter as well.  Over the years I have used it I have become convinced that kids, more than not, don't do their homework because of poor planning or organization and Remind has helped immensely on this.  Above is a video explaining how to use it.  Of course the service is free and parents can sign up for it as well.  Finally it is also only a one way text. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Factor Markets Explained

We just started factor markets in my economics' class.  The graphs can be a bit complicated and if your students need help, look to ACDC videos to help you.  Here is the link to the videos on factor markets and above is the one explaining the firm and the market in a perfectly competitive market. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Allocative and Productive Efficiency


While this is too long to give to your students if you are struggling with allocative and productive efficacy in a perfectly competitive market, then it will be a good primer for you. Thanks to Rich Hoppock for finding it.  By the way it is part of Wekler Wikicomonics which is a great source of learning for students and teachers. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Monopolistic Competition


So as I have been telling you, I am mostly using Andrew Foos' videos, but was a little concerned with his monopolistic video as it is over ten minutes so I went trolling and found the six minute one above which is more than excellent.  It does everything Andrew does, but in a bit short format (remembering that I am still using mostly Foos videos).  It gives a great chart comparing monopolistic, monopoly and perfect competition, has graphs to show the differences and explains the commonalities and differences very succinctly.   It comes from mjmfoodie whom I have spoken about before.  Her angle seems to be short, great graphics and nice explanations.   I guess my main point with all of this is to know your students and mix and match to get your perfect set of flip videos. 

Khan Academy for a Flipped Classroom

I believe I have blogged about this before, but if done correctly, you can almost, if not entirely teach economics without a textbook.,  Here, for example, is the Khan academy series on microeconomics and here is the one on macroeconomics.

After the students watch the videos, you can go over the highlights, answer questions and quiz them. I usually have students write down the diagram, labeling everything (just as is done on the AP exam) and we work out a few problems together. Then the students work on the problem sets and I move around the room. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Learning Pod Review System

My two AP classes each have two exams that they will have to take in May which prompted one student to ask me the other day how we would review for both AP exams.  Well the answer, if you read my post below on How We Learn is to go back frequently, but not every day and review old material.

One way to do this is to let your students use Learning Pod which allows students to take review questions on any AP exam that are preparing for without having to even login.  However if the students want to login then they will receive an explanation for their incorrect questions.

Teachers can also create "pods" of their own tests that they have created which they can make available for anyone or just for their own students.  There are also different ways (url, Tweets), etc that teachers can use to share a pod with students.

If you want to easily see all the AP offering questions, go here or to the logo on the right of the page any time you want.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

How We Learn

As I have noted before, it is not often that I push something that costs money, but at Frank Franz' suggestion I read How We Learn, by Benedict Carey.  Here are some of the highlights in Scientific American.  The upshot is that the author contends with quantitative backing:

  • that studying day after day is not good that we should have a day or two off after studying the first time and that there will be surprisingly more retention when one tests on the third day after studying than on the day you studied
  • that studying on multiple days, not in succession increases long term retention
  • that brief study breaks to do things totally unrelated such as checking text messages, as long as not done every few minutes help the brain make connections
  • that going back to earlier material all year again helps the learning process
  • that having students think and not just listen and write makes the long term learning better

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Internet Access for All Students

Each year I teach two AP classes, 2 standard ones and one online.  So of my roughly 150 students, about 5-6 start the year without a laptop and all are in my two standard classes.  What is different this year is that all but one has some Internet connection be it via a smartphone or a laptop.  So all students can watch flip videos and see links to items online so the "worst case" is that they have to write their answers on paper - which, yes, even for me works.  But there are still things that just cannot be done on a smartphone.

But a few years ago a girl in one of my classes came in beaming one day and said because of my class her mother had bought her a laptop.  When I asked if this was a bad thing (ie did I pressure her in some way) she said no and that her mother had no idea schools used laptops that much.  Well now I find a time outside of class to talk to all my non connected students and always mention Chromebooks saying that it is what I bought my own children ($250 for 11" and $300 for 14").  Kids today do not need Microsoft Windows and for that matter Microsoft now has OneDrive which allows you to do most of what you do in Word, but online.  So as it has been in the past three years, three kids have come to me so far to tell me that they now have laptops and two more are getting theirs soon.  Not only that but parents have even thanked me for suggesting it.

For me it boils down to this.  I know that students will need online capabilities when they enter the workplace and by not asking, I am helping to foster a situation where my students are far behind most of their peers.  I also stay after school 90 minutes each day and help kids learn how to be connected - as well as how to do their work.   To get to the point, not asking a student is worse than asking so see if you can't get more of your students connected. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Released FRQ Economics' Tests

It is quite interesting in that students know there the Free Response Questions are out there for previous AP exams and teachers know they know, but few on either side talk about it.  No matter the AP class, I exclusively use released AP FRQ questions as there is nothing better (short of being an AP Reader) to prep a student than to use the real tests.  To that end the only problem is that kids talk between periods, so I tell them the curve goes to the combined classes so if students talk, the curve is essentially eliminated.  Secondly I use different questions on different days.

To that end here are the released AP Macroeconomics FRQ questions and here are the Microeconomics' ones.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Federal Budget Simulations


Three Federal Budget simulations you may be interested in using: NY Times Budget Puzzle, CRFB Simulator  and National Budget Simulation all can be potentially great tools to engage students in how difficult the Federal Budget process is and the trade-offs that are made.  Also, with Your 2013 Tax Receipt students can figure out how much they would pay in taxes at different levels of income and most importantly where those tax dollars go. Here are some other simulations from The Economics Network

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Howjsay to Pronounce Words

A number of my students are either currently ESOL students or were in the program in the last year or two.  So one of the resources we use is Howjsay.com where you can input a word and it says it for you.  The other day for example, we were looking at Japan and submitted the word archipelago.  It also links the word to a Google search so you can find out more about what you are trying to pronounce.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Internet Companies, Monopolies and Oligopoly

We started monopolies today and are doing oligopolies when that is done.  So I will discuss this article with my kids and ask which our local Internet provider comes closest to (since I think it some areas it is a geographic monopoly whereas in others it is certainly an oligopoly.  That will bring up a nice discussion to inefficiency.  The article looks at inefficiencies due to lack of competition and why we are so far behind many other countries in terms of service. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monopolies Explained


This little video does a great job of explaining why the demand and marginal revenue curves are downward sloping in a monopoly and how and where to mark the diagram for profit, revenue, marginal and average total cost.  It comes from mjmfoodie who has a lot of great macro and micro videos. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Perfect Competition


On Tuesday we are covering long run perfect competition which is not easy so I found this great Internet page which both explains the concept and explains it in written format with images.

While we are in it, this is the site in Great Britain that I found it on.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kahoot!!


Found this site recently as a way to give assessments in a very entertaining and interactive way. Free to set up as a teacher. Simply choose the questions and possible answers. Students only need to open a browser on their phone or tablet, go to kahoot.it and put in Game pin to start.  After that, students click their answers on their phones and score more points if they answer sooner(up to 1,000).  After all answers are submitted, students get immediate feedback on correct answer, how many points they scored, what place they are in and how many points behind they top five.  Very engaging and fun. Your students will love Kahoot.

My Book is Getting Closer; Pre-Order Now

So I started my blogs in April of 2008 - which means I have been hawking free wares for quite a long time.  But no more!  My book manuscript should arrive in my in box in a few days and after I initial it, the next stop is the printer.  The publication date is the last week of January, but you and/or your school or district can pre-order it now.  

The title pretty much says it all.  I believe that technology is great since that is the world we now live in, but two terms I use in my book are "first and second order" uses of technology.  First order is just digitizing everything you normally do on paper while "second order" is using technology to do learning with your students (such as individualizing) that you could not do without it.  Not only do I give you the research, but I give you the step by step instructions for how to do this.

Over the next few months, I will be giving you more details on the book so please keep reading if you aren't yet sure if you want to purchase it yet.   If you go here, there is both a very detailed chapter outline as well as the early reviews and a way to order the book.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We The Economy (20) short videos on Economics


Found these great short videos on Economics from Morgan Spurlock.  WeTheEconomy.com is attempting educate average citizens about some economic realities through these short videos which can be used in class to start a discussion, etc. . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twitter Warm-up for Your Classes

Today my colleague, Doug Zywiol asked his US history classes to Tweet him the biggest hurdle facing George Washington when he started his presidential term.  If you go to @dougzywiol you can see the student responses.  To have your students do it, they simply need to add your Twitter handle to a text and then you can project the responses on the board or simply have your students use their smartphones to look at and discuss the answers.  Alternatively you could make a hashtag (just put the "#" symbol along side any class name you might invent (such as @Zywiolclass) and then have your students add this to their text.  Then go to the newly made site to see all of the Tweets.

By the way Zywiol's government students were doing their government service hours and met Barbara Comstock (see image above) who is likely to be a new member of Congress come January and of course they Tweeted about it so Zywiol's other students could see it.

Obviously no matter the subject you teach, you can use Twitter to start your warm-up.  If you are like us and have slow laptops, it can be done while the laptops are logging in. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Perfect Competition (Almost) Examples

On Wednesday we are starting perfect competition.  As always I like to give my students examples in the real world.  Of course, there is no true example of it, but here are a few close approximations.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Compound Interest, Stock Market & Credit Card Simulator

Here is a cool site that allows your students to see how a savings account compares to the stock market.  It also has a credit card simulator. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola and a Possible Shift in Demand

You probably teach MERIT to your students for shifts in demand as opposed TRICE for supply). Here is an article on whether or not people are going to stop flying due to the "Ebola nurse" flying to Cleveland from Houston.
As with the other articles I have posted today, I plan on showing one or two of them to my students tomorrow and asking what might happen to demand and if plane use shifts, then how would we know if something is a substitute?

Remind Gets Even Easier


Remind (which used to be Remind101) is getting even easier.  Stating in November all your students and parents will have to do is to text "81010" and your unique class code (which you make) and they will be signed up.  I have been using the site for the past three years and their CEO even gave my upcoming January release book (Deeper Learning Through Technology) a nice endorsement.   I can't say enough for how it has improved my students' memory to get their nightly text reminders in finishing any lingering work they may have for me.  

Drought and the Free Market

Thanks to Phil Cox on the AP Economics Teachers site on Facebook for this one.  Here is an article that discusses the fact that alfalfa growers in the West get to use water beyond what is necessary and if the free market were instituted for water use, we would see far less drought conditions among our western states.  

Elasticity and College Textbooks

Thanks to Rich Hoppock for this one.   Planet Money has a lot of great stories that can put teaching economics squarely in the real world.  Here is a story on how students are buying far fewer new textbooks in college,  It would be a great exercise to address with your students as to the in-elasticity of new textbooks and the growing elasticity of other ways to get books.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quizlet Review for AP Microeconomics


After the coming week my students will be half way through AP microeconomics and so I am giving them this set of review cards from my favorite review guide, 5 Steps to a 5.  While we haven't hit the last fifteen vocabulary words, the rest will be a super review for the kids.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Very Short and Clear Explanation of ATC, AVC, AFC and MC


Mr. Clifford has a plethora of short super explanations to help you teach economics.  I particularly like the one above on marginal cost, average total cost, average fixed costs and average variable costs as it is the concept my students are learning about tonight via a flipped video and tomorrow we will review and over which we will complete our problem set.

Price Controls and Freakonomics


If you want to make economics relevant to your students one site to see if Freakonomics.  Above is a podcast from the site which discusses "fitness apartheid" in New York City.   It looks at rent control, rear doors for people paying less and even asks if having first class airport seats is discriminatory.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Federal Reserve's Lesson Plans

The Federal Reserve of St. Louis has a number of lesson plans completely written up and ready to go including podcasts that explain key concepts as well as are written out.  You can find them here

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Personal Finance Simulator Units for Your Students


Two of the courses I teach are AP Micro/Macro and Economics and Personal Finance.  The latter is online and one of the tools we use is EverFi to make sure the students are both learning and practicing personal finance.  It is a nice tool that is free and gives the teacher student scores as you go through the unit.  Scores are on a 100% basis so it is easily transferable into a grade.  Above is an overview, here are videos on how to set it up and use it. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is College Worth It?

For those of you teaching economics and personal finance,  here is a great WashPost article on the value of a college education as opposed to just a high school education.  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Flipping, flipping, flipping!


All three of my preps this year are being flipped so I am really getting into it which is good after four years of practicing the "craft."  Today we are having a tech in-service at Hayfield Secondary where I teach and I am teaching two sections of how to flip one's classroom.  If you aren't a teacher at Hayfield and want to watch how to do flip, above is an eight minute video detailing all of the steps and what to do in the classroom after you have done your flipped lecture.

Here is an example of a flipped video, the actual Google form we used and the interactive assignment that followed in class

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Elasticity & Amazon.com

Most people know that Amazon.com has been in a price war with independent book dealers, but according to their blog and this article it's all about elasticity.  Make the price too high and people will not purchase as many books.  Lower the price and book sales go up.  It might make for an interesting article to show your students to make what they are learning more relevant. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cross Price Elasticity


Short that it is, this is very well explained for cross price elasticity.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The World's Shortest Video Definition of Micro and Macroeconomics

Revenue & the Internet in Real Time


Click above to view the full version [h/t PennyStocks.la].
If you have been listening or reading interviews this week with Jack Ma or Alibaba, you know he sounds a lot like Jeff Bezos when he was starting Amazon.  Both saw a change in the market and jumped on it.  That might be something your students can relate to what you are teaching in class.  While you are doing that, the images above might help your discussion. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Book Can Now be Pre-Ordered

We now have a definitive early January release date for my book, whose name has changed to "Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction."  The name pretty much says it all as I relate research, examples and explanatory tutorials to show you how to effectively use technology for both primary (technology being used in ways similar to paper and secondary (more of the book and ways to allow you to do things you cannot do without technology).   There are also five "teacher challenges" per chapter so that you and your PLCs could set goals for your teams to integrate the techniques into your classrooms and school.    

Income and Substitution Effects

My students will be starting a new micro unit this week which will look at substitution and income effect.  This explanation, complete, with images is a big help, esp. for those looking for multiple scenarios.  For example it looks at what happens with normal as well as inferior goods to both under both income and substitution effects.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

What are Capital Gains & Credit Scores


While the goal of this WashPost video is how to avoid a capital gains tax, it is actually quite a good video on what is meant by capital gains.  

Below is another video explaining credit scores. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Circular Flow Model

If you are flipping your classroom here is a nice video explaining the circular flow model.  If you prefer to show images to your students, here is a nice set of them.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Teaching 9-11


A few years ago through the twitter #sschat a teacher posted their 9-11 lesson via dropbox and I instantly downloaded.  But I forgot who I got it from so if you are out there please contact me and I can give you credit for putting this outstanding lesson together.  Here is the 9-11 Lesson.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flipping Back to School Night


I started this last year and had a great deal of success with my AP courses, so above is what I am doing for AP Micro/Macro.  I create a tinyurl (http://tinyurl.com/btsnapeconand ask my students to text their parents in class the video.  Most of my parents watched it beforehand and then came to class with their questions.  If you look at my World History Teachers Blog, I have suggestions for those of you who have non AP classes.

If you want to create your own flipped back to school night presentation, here is how to do it. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remind Now Allows You To Record Homework Reminders


This is a pretty cool addition for those of you who have Remind on your smartphone (iTunes, Android).  You can, as the video shows, record your student assignments for your kids to hear rather than read.  You can also attach assignments if you like.  If you look at this video you can set up and use Remind with your students.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Free Graphing Tools for your Smartphone

Thanks to Liz Brown on the AP Economics Teachers Facebook page for this suggestion which has free iTunes and Android graphing tools which you could use with your students.  


38 Maps That Explain the Global Economy

This is a nice series of maps from Vox that explain aspects of the world's economy.  Visuals are a great way to show your students what is being studied.  For example the image above is the per capita GDP of individual countries.  So if you know the ones colored black are the highest and then dark blue, light blue, you can very quickly see the richest areas of the world. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Remind to Text Your Students


I have been using Remind (used to be called Remind101) for the past three years (in fact their CEO even wrote a nice blurb for my book which is coming out in a few months).  Students today do not use email very often, but cannot text enough to save their lives!  So when I started using Remind I found that the amount of homework among my standard (non AP/IB) students improved dramatically.  If you have students who do not have smartphones, the service also allows emails.  Additionally you can send a message to as few as three students.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

538 Blog for Making Econ Relevant to Your Students

First off thanks to the people who are starting to come more and more to this blog which now has over 100 posts which can be searched using the search engine in the upper left hand corner.  One the goals I have for my micro/macro students is to try to find some real relevance in the material.  Since we just started the year and will be doing supply and demand next week, I thought I would check one of my favorite economics' sites, the 538 blog which started from a purely political blog (which it still is) and has branched out to much more.

As an example, here is an article looking at computers diagnosing illnesses and what that might do to the number of medical professionals we need.  So after reading the very short (they all are which makes them nice to use to make a quick point), I will have the kids diagram the short and long term impact of such a possibility.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

5 Steps to a 5 Practice AP Macro Exam & Study Guides

This is a complete sixty question practice exam from 5 Steps to a 5 for AP Macroeconomics.  It would obviously be good practice for your students at some point.

Here, also, is a complete study guide for both AP Micro and Macro economics.  What I like about it is that there is a search engine as well as a list of every topic. Furthermore, the study guide then has five multiple choice questions on each topic for students to better prepare.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Twitter Warm-up

So I always have a meet and greet on our first day of school, but tomorrow, thanks to @dougzywiol I am going more high tech (imagine that!) and having the kids Tweet their answers.  To do that yourself you can either create your own hashtag by putting a number a hashtag symbol besides a name (make sure others are using it first) and then have your kids add it in of their Tweets which is what I am going to do.  Alternatively you could just have the students write your Twitter handle in their Tweets.  I will then have the kids go to our hashtag and we will go through them.  For the kids who don't have Twitter, we'll just do it orally.   

Ding Dong! Currency in Vietnam

A friend I met in China a few weeks ago is traveling in Vietnam for the next month.  He texted us to say the dong is 21,000 to $1 which is mind blowing.  But it immediately made me think of a great way to talk exchange rates with my students such as in the graph above.   It also brings up the talk of inflation and planned economies.  If you care, here is an Economist article on the topic and here is a currency converter.  Dave paid $4 for some Cokes and ended up forking out 85,000 dong!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

How to Make a Graph in Google Drive


It's funny as I have been having my students draw maps in Google Drive for years, but have been struggling in economics.  Talking to my colleagues Susan Socha and Ken Martin, I was reminded that it is just like making a map.  Above is my three minute video explaining how.  

How to Interview Someone on a Google Hangout


If you are like me and all of your classes have a state or national exam at the end, you often feel somewhat pressed for time so bringing a speaker is not always something you can do until the end of the year.  But if you use a Google+ Hangout, you can bring someone in, limit the time they are "in" your room and share the live broadcast and or have it recorded to YouTube for later broadcasts. Above is a short video telling you how to do this.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Free Online AP Macro/Micro Courses

Here is an AP Macro course online or better yet it is a series of well done videos explaining the major parts of the course.  It also comes with a quiz for each video.  

Market Watch for Students Learning the Stock Market


My Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) students have to play a stock market game called Market Watch during the course of the year where they trade as much as the teacher allows them to have.  Since it is based on the real stock market, trades can only occur between 9 am and 4 pm EST.  My students really enjoy it. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Federal Reserve and You

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve offers a FREE DVD entitled "The Federal Reserve and You" or you can stream the video segments.  It covers the Fed's history, Money and Banking along with Monetary Policy. I ordered mine and received it about a week later at my school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Answer the AP Macro FRQ Questions


One key on FRQ questions on the macro exam is to correctly label all parts of the graphs.  Above is a nice video showing how to answer the 2010 and below is the way to answer the 2010 micro questions. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

High School Economics 3rd Edition


I recently purchased this book Economics book from the Council for Economic Education website for $34.99 and it might be one of the best purchases I've made.  As you look through the Table of Contents you will see (28) Lessons using the Active Learning approach. The lessons are comprehensive and get the students moving, thinking and listening.  CEE has a YouTube channel and posted two videos of Lesson 13: Who decides Wage Rates? and Lesson 18: Unemployment Rate taking you through each and discussing expectations and outcomes for the students.  Included are Interactive supplements and downloadable power point slides.

Take My Technology Integration Course

I will be teaching the seventh version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this spring.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online, how to use Google Drive and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 43.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 68) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.  The sign-up period is from August 27th at 4 pm - September 10th.

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).  The class fills up quickly, so if you are interested I would sign up sooner rather than later.  If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

Twitter In-Service


Tomorrow I will be doing an in-service on using Twitter in the classroom.  My colleague, Doug Zywiol, joined my department last year having never used it before and attended my Twitter in-service. Now he is a force and will show you how to do warm-ups using Twitter while I will have a hands on demonstration on using Twitter for your PLN and how to use a hashtag for discussions.  We will be in room 228 during session A.  If you are not a FCPS teacher, use the video above to learn how to use Twitter.   If you prefer seeing it all written out, here is a great set of written instructions and below is a summary of them:

For your PLN, a great group to follow is listed below:
Ken Halla @kenhalla
Cool Cat Teacher @letytijerina
We Are Teachers @WeAreTeacher
Larry Ferlazzo @LarryFerlazzo
Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal
Richard Byrna @rmbryne
Shelly Terrell @ShellTerrell

For hashtags, go to this link to see how my classes use it for government discussions returns, presidential debates and reviewed for the exams.  Below is a list of hashtags you might want to follow.  Some other useful ones are #SSChat (social studies), #HistoryTeacher and #GeographyTeacher.  To find a hashtag, type in the # symbol plus the name in the search engine in Twitter and the conversation will appear.  If you want to be really blown away go here for the 300 most popular hashtags for educators.
Educational Chats: #edchat, #schools, #lrnchat, #TT (Teacher Tuesday), #GlobalEd
Technology Chats: #edtech, #elearning, #mlearning (mobile learning), #edapps, #gbl (games based learning), #islide2learn (iDevices & learning), #vitalcpt (effective use of tech in the classoom)

If you want to both follow a hashtag and Tweet at the same time, I'd suggest you use TweetChat.  Below is a video on how to use it.  

Flipped Classroom In-Service


Tomorrow I am teaching two sections of how to flip your classroom to Fairfax County (VA) teachers.  If you are coming, I will be in room 228 during sessions B and C.  If you aren't a teacher in Fairfax or if after our session, you want to watch how to do it again, above is an eight minute video detailing all of the steps and what to do in the classroom after you have done your flipping.  

The PowerPoint below has a number of great resources for more information on flipping.


Finally here is an example of a flipped video, the actual Google form we used and the interactive assignment that followed in class

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tragedy of the Bunnies Game

Microeconomics talks about the "tragedy of the commons" which was when one person lets his sheep eat on a public common area.  But if everyone did this, there would not be enough grass for everyone.  So to highlight this, your students have a variety of games they can play to learn this concept.