Sunday, June 29, 2014

Crime and Economics

The Library of Economics and Liberty has an interesting article on the economics of crime.  It presents stealing as a rational behavior where the perpetrators have looked at the costs of their behavior and make a conscience decision.  It is an interesting way to present economics to your students.  Since we are always looking for a hook, this might be an interesting way to get them to look at key concepts.  

The library has a ton on interesting articles that are all fairly short and cover many of the topics you will be teaching.  

Friday, June 27, 2014 to Text Your Students

If you are just starting with this blog page you will see that while the emphasis is on how to teach economics to your students, I also believe we should be as tech savvy with them as possible.  So you will see lots of ways to do this if you keep returning to this blog.

For example is an alternative to Remind to texting your students.  You can choose between a restricted environment where only you see the texts or one where all students respond.  Either way it is an improvement since you can individually text your students, but the conversation is recorded to ensure proper school etiquette is followed.  The nice thing about this is that if your students have questions, you do not need to answer every question, but can rely on the students to help each other.  You can also also send out questions to your students and see an instant poll.  This is useful the night before a test first to make sure they are reminded to study as well as to gauge if they are ready for the test.  If there is a deficiency, then you can send a link to your students for the particular item that needs to be studied.

Above is a tutorial on how to use the basic elements of

Economic Teachers' Hashtag on Twitter

I use Twitter a lot to get information to help me to teach.  One way to do this is to go to a hashtag and join in a conversation.  Later in the summer I'll put up more on how to use Twitter as I am teaching an in-service on it in August.  For now you can search my other blogs for tutorials.  But you can also just go to "#econchat" on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 9 pm EST and as long as you put the hashtag in your comments you can join in the conversation with like minded teachers.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Changes in Google Drive

This gives you a quick overview of how to do the main items in Google Drive be it on your laptop or smartphone.  Later this summer I will post a five minute film on how to do everything you will need in Google Drive for your school year.  For now, this is a great start.  I found it on the Google Drive blog site

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Natural Monopoly Videos

TextbookVideos is a pay for video site, but here are several short videos on why natural monopolies exist and why they are hard to compete with.  Except for the first one (and it has some great examples), the other three intertwine graphs with the explanations.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Poll Everywhere for Instant Response

Poll Everywhere keeps getting better.  In the old days I used to hand out clickers to students so we could get instant feedback on a question.  But the clickers were inconsistent and often were broken.  So for the past few years we have been using Poll Everywhere which allows you to create formative quizzes with either multiple choice or free response answers.  It can be used on smartphones or laptops or both simultaneously.  The best part is that if you have a LCD, you can project the responses up on a screen so you and your students can instantly see what percentage of the class has mastered the content.  Here is a video explaining how to create and use the polls and above is a short overview.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Opportunity Cost and the Unemployed

I have blogged before about the value of a college education and this is another article (from 538 blog) that back this up, but also gives a lot of other interesting statistics.  It does point out that unemployment is much higher among high school grads than college ones (14 to 4).  It also looks at part of why it is hard for the unemployed to get jobs as they are doing other things (see picture above) that are unrelated to getting jobs (such as more are sleeping, watching tv, cleaning, etc.). 538 has a lot of great articles you can share with your economics' students.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chart Heaven

This set of charts from Vox is awesome for an economics' teacher starting with the one that incomes.  You could marry it with the one that shows educational levels and ask the kids what kind of monetary policy might have resulted from the former (and then check it) and how it is related to educational levels.  There are twenty-one in all to play with in class. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bloom's Wheel with Technology

I am putting the finishing touches on my book (yes it has taken much longer than I thought) and came across Allan Carrington's Pedagogy Wheel which takes Bloom's taxonomy and gives you apps and websites that you can use for each level of learning.  Check it out here and then start thinking how you can use more technology to reach the upper levels of Bloom's.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Become an AP Grader

Right now I am in Salt Lake City grading AP exams.  I have been grading for years and really enjoy it.  I started and continue to come because it does help you teach your students how to better master the free response questions on an AP exam.  But it is quite great when you get to meet a bunch of driven AP teachers who inspire me with new ideas and then become a year round resource.  Should I add that you are paid, get free room and board and a plane ticket to the grading.

Oh and the grading!  Yes you do have to grade a lot of essays and on the 4th or 5th day it can get a bit tough, but most people come back year after year so it isn't that bad.  I should add that it makes you a much more efficient grader for your own students' tests.

So if you are interested in applying go here

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Remind101 to Text Students

If you want to text your students reminders for homework, this is the site to use.  You can set it up to be sent at a certain time, send it to just a few students or the entire class.  You can even send it with attachments or Tweet it out after it has been sent.  The video above explains it all. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

GDP - States as Countries

One of the early macro concepts you will undoubtedly teach is GDP.   Well the picture above (found on this Tweet) is an awesome way to show students how busy our states are relative to other countries.  For example, if it is to be believed, my state of Virginia has a similar output to the GDP of Austria.  Have fun with this exercise. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Colbert and Picketty

French author Thomas Picketty wrote Capital which is topping the charts with its major finding that those who are wealthy are making more money than the average rate of growth.  Stephen Colbert (as I teacher I will really miss his character when he leaves his show) looks at this and other economic questions which would make for a good discussion in your class.

Colbert's interview with Picketty is below. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elastic vs Inelastic Price Curves

I am going to do a lot of flipping with AP economics next year using Andrew Foos's videos (micro and macro), but there are also a number of shorter ones out there which you can find using simple Google searches.  For example, this one gives you a 4 minute explanation of inelastic and elastic demand curves. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Taxing Sugar in Drinks

To me connecting the economics' material to my students' lives is paramount - as long as they can see where it falls in what we have been discussing.  Hence I have done a number of posts on homework.  So this article on whether we should tax sugar in a drink is an excellent way as it would raise a can of Coke nearly 10 cents and definitely cut shift demand to a lower level.   What else might it do would be a good question for students. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homework Post #4

So it probably won't surprise you that many of the things I put up here are what I am doing in my class.  So while it is still a long time until school starts, when I give my students their occasional assignment on using the news to highlight what we are doing in class, here is an article I will give as an example as it discusses why the price of coffee will be going up soon as the supply curve is shifting leftwards due to disease and drought in Brazil.  If you need to know why supply shifts, watch this video (as the coffee bean is an input). 

Box Office Movie Sales: Real vs. Nominal

I am finishing up Naked Economics.  The author, Wheelan, makes a point that each year we seem to see records being broken with movie theater sales.  Yet he points out that this is somewhat misleading as ticket sales keep going up and up.   Thankfully Matthew McWinie has come up with a great exercise in using nominal versus real prices.  Basically he gives his students the top grossing films and then the CPI and asks them to figure out which one is the real winner.   According to Forbes, adjusted for inflation the real winner is still Gone with the Wind.