Monday, August 31, 2015

A Career in Economics

Neat video on careers in Economics and it is just not being about Macro, Micro and Investing but about people and choices along with crossing many disciplines.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

ACDC Economics and Ideas for Flipping An Economics Class

I am a big fan of Jacob Clifford.  His new series with Crash Course is getting a lot of views, but it is not as useful to your teaching as his ACDC videos are.  If you are looking to use his flipped class resources,  here are his micro and macro videos.  

If you are a new economics teacher, there is no right or wrong way to teach the course.  For what it is worth, I start with micro and then go to macro and assume that in the second half of the year I do not need to go over production possibilities curve (see above), comparative/absolute advantage, demand, supply and equilibrium again.

If you do flip, I'd suggest having your kids take notes and sharing them (you can do this with Google Drive even if your school district doesn't have Google Apps for Education as most, if not all of your students have a free Gmail account).   I then give them a 5 question quiz at the beginning of class. The quiz goes at the top of their notes (which they are allowed to use) and then I only count the quiz and not the notes (which allows students to take notes in a way that helps them and avoids having to worry about homework grades). 

Friday, August 28, 2015

What Shape Will Your Classroom Be In This Year?

For the first 24 years of my teaching career, I have had my classroom in a U shape an idea I took from my 10th grade English teacher.  The thought was to facilitate discussion in the classroom.  This year, though, I am trying a new idea.  I am using a much smaller desk so that I be out of the way and my students will be seated in groups of four.  While I do use the front of the room to bring context, with flipping, my students are doing much more work on their own (or in groups) while I move around the room to check for understanding and to see if they need help on what is being done.  I am curious to see how this set-up works.

If you want to change your room, here and here are two ways to lay out your room to see if it will work for you before you move the actual desks.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

China' Connection to the World in Graphics and Words

This NYTimes article graphically shows China's connections to the world's economy if you are trying to explain it to your students.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Live Stock Market Ticker for Your Classes

Not to be too consumed by the stock market, but if you wanted to look at it with your students, you could go to CNN Money and see live updates of the various indices including the current winners and losers, key commodities, etc. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Catching Cheating Using Google Drive

Now that Google Classroom is finally getting better than using Google Drive, I will tell you how to catch cheating in Google Classroom later in the fall, but for now if your students turn in assignments using Google Drive below is a very quick video showing how to catch copying in your class and between sections of different teachers.  Of course, most just copy from the internet which means you only have to copy a short questionable portion and put it in a Google search which is almost as effective and a lot cheaper than things like  If you are in Fairfax County, I am doing two technology in-services at our social studies in-service gathering on Wednesday September 2nd in room 447 at West Potomac H.S. during sesions A and B.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unemployment, Trump and Teaching Economics

If you follow Donald Trump, you know he just claimed that unemployment is 42%.  While a huge exaggeration, he is correct in stating that not everyone is counted in the unemployment numbers as this article that you might want to share with your students points out. 

Your students will need to know the following terms: unemployed and looking, those voluntarily out of the workplace, discourage workers, marginally attached workers.  The article thus is a good way to show what is actually happening in the US. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Welker's Economics in Plain English Blog

One thing I like better about IB Economics is that it makes you connect everything to the real world.  While I teach AP Econ (and regular) I try to do the same.  One way you might want assistance with this is Jason Welker's Blog which has a couple of connections a week.

As an example,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Facebook AP Economics Page

The Facebook AP Economics page is a growing group that is more than willing to help answer your questions (what is a good warm-up, can someone share tests, how do you teach your class, etc.).  I have found it very helpful for me.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Screencastomatic for Flipping Your Class

I have made every single one of my flipped videos with Screencastomatic. It is entirely free and while you can set up an account, I never have as it uploads your videos straight into YouTube.  The only limitation is that the free version only allows you to create 15 minute videos, but if you are going over that, you are breaking the rules for flipping (since it takes double or more the time to watch and, if necessary, take notes on flipped videos.  If you want to see what they look like, you can look at my Playlist.

The video above shows you how to create a video and get going. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Remind to Text Students

Students live on their smartphones.  Use Remind to reach them.  The video above explains all of it in four minutes. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Google Classroom

Until recently I was not convinced that Google Classroom was any better than Google Drive.  But Google recently announced that you can now add apps on it and one might assume that it is going to get better.  The best part is that the students can see the due date and you can share either a link or anything you have in Google Drive (be it your Google Apps for Education or your personal account). Above is a video showing how to set up the classroom and here is the help center.  Look for me to have more videos and tips on Google 's Chromebook and the Google Classroom as we move into the fall.

Below is how you can add items from the web to Google Classroom. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Diigo for Bookmarking & Class Groups

Long ago I stopped putting my bookmarks on Explorer, Chrome, etc. as I didn't not want to be married to one laptop.  Think about it.  Your school laptop is re-imaged probably once a year and each time you have your bookmarks deleted.  There is a way you can suck in your Chrome, Mozilla or Explorer So Diigo is a great way to save your bookmarks on the cloud.  You can set up your own account or login using Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo.

Below this is a video explaining how to sign up and above is one showing how you can use groups in a class.   If you use it with your students they do not have to have a Diigo account nor even share their email (although that allow them to be updated with alerts). 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

HR&R Budget Challenges

HR&R has many ways that students can learn finances on their site.  First off they have a classroom budget challenge. Each student gets pay, a bank account, 401K and bills (of course!).  The idea is to show each student how difficult it is to keep a job.  To make sure students are learning there are also quiz questions.  As an added incentive there are real cash prizes ($3 million in all) that students and schools can win.

We use simulations with my economics and finance and have found tremendous success with this approach as it really lets the students see their learning in action as opposed to just seeing videos or discussing it in class.  HR&R is free, in an enclosed protected setting and should be a real help to your students.  Here are some lesson plans put together by HR&R.

Look at the video above for more insights into it. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Deeper Learning Through Technology

So I still have books to sell!  Mine - in case you are new to the blog is about personalizing the education of your students and is called Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.

  • The book starts with an overview of terms you might want to know such as "the cloud" as well as laws that govern the use of technology with your students.
  • It then looks at how you can expand your collaborative team beyond your school walls using technology.
  • Next it goes over step by steps ways to include Google Drive in your classroom.
  • It includes a chapter on flipping the classroom - how to make your own and find ones others have done.
  • The next chapter looks at what you do in your classroom after you have flipped it and your kids are ready for higher level assignments as well as collaborative projects
  • Not to be forgotten is a chapter on assessing your students and how they fit in a classroom that is looking after each student's needs.
  • Finally I look at a school system that has made many of the changes I have mentioned above.
Most importantly the book
  • shows the teacher and administrator in step by step fashion how to carry out everything I discuss
  • has many examples of how each item discussed has been used in the classroom
  • gives you - your collaborative team or school assignments to carry out on a schedule that fits your needs.