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 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 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.