January 20, 2017

2017: A Financial Literacy Fresh Start

2017: A Financial Literacy Fresh Start

After the toasts and the festivities of New Year’s Eve have wound down, it’s time to make some resolutions for the fresh year ahead. To kick off 2017, below are some tips you can share with your students to start them off on the right financial foot in the New Year. They also make for a great and engaging lesson plan! Read more

December 12, 2016

Building a Winter Break Budget

For high school and college students, the holiday season brings exams, followed by a long, leisurely break from classes. While time away from schoolwork and a chance to spend more time with family, friends and a cup of hot chocolate is a welcome change for most students, from a budget perspective winter break can put a strain on the wallet. With gift-giving and cold-weather activities, many people spend more than they are used to in December. Read more

November 7, 2016

Financial Literacy Lessons: Holiday Crime Prevention

Along with a large population of the country, your students are likely planning to partake in Black Friday festivities this month, kicking off the holiday spending season. Whether they are checking out sales online or staying up until midnight to head to the big box retailers in person, these big spending days during the holiday season bring increased risk of fraud and identity theft. Below are the basic financial literacy lessons to teach your students so that they can adequately protect themselves now and in the future. Read more

October 18, 2016

Financial Literacy Midterms

October is not just the time for apple picking, hanging cobwebs and stocking up for Halloween; it’s also the time to reflect on the lessons you have taught your students in the first few units of the school year, determine the skills and lessons they have mastered thus far and identify the areas that need extra time and attention. We have compiled tips and lesson plan ideas to prepare your students for midterms on financial literacy or other subjects and track against your goals for the months ahead.

Lesson Plans in Jeopardy

A great way to assess your students’ progress in an engaging way before midterms is with a classroom-wide review game. This free tool allows teachers to create their own fully-customizable Jeopardy-style game and provides support for determining categories, keeping score and suggestions for the final question. You can also incentivize studying in advance of the review game day by offering prizes to the winners (i.e. extra credit or pre-Halloween candy).

Two Heads Are Better Than One

By having your students review for midterm assessments together in pairs, you will have the opportunity to move throughout the classroom, provide individualized instruction and spend extra time addressing concepts that are foundational for lessons that will be taught later in the school year. You can even intentionally partner the strongest students in the classroom with those that have struggled with certain material. The teaching and learning between students will encourage conversation and make for a more engaged and inclusive classroom environment in the months ahead.

Put to the Test

Quizzes and written tests aren’t the only way to assess your students’ knowledge and in some cases they aren’t even ideal. For your midterm assessments on financial literacy, consider foregoing a test and asking students to present a real-life budget, or assign a creative project encouraging your students to film a video, perform a skit or write a poem that demonstrates financial literacy concepts. You’ll be surprised at what your students come up with!

If you want more tips for planning financial literacy lessons, be sure to check back every month on the Pathway to Financial Success blog.

September 28, 2016

Fall into Savings: How to Start Your Students on the Right Financial Foot

The sun is still shining and the feelings of summer are lingering, however, slowly but surely, the signs of fall are creeping in as everyone heads back to the classroom. Chances are most of your students spent at least part of the summer hard at work, whether it was tutoring, scooping ice cream, working retail or just mowing their parents’ lawns. Regardless, they likely did something to stir up some spending money. Below are some financial literacy lessons to impart to your students, advising them on how stretch their summer earnings as far as possible.

1.Evaluate your spending – It’s important that students carefully evaluate their spending. Complete an exercise with your students to walk through their weekly spending. This exercise should call out any bad spending habits – like that every day after school slice of pizza – that are hurting their finances.

2. Make a budget – At the core of every successful financial plan is a solid budget. Work with your students to make a budget for the school year, considering those big spending moments such as the holidays, birthdays and other events. Estimate how much they can spend each month, based on how much they’ve earned this summer, to help them make the most of their hard earned summer paychecks.

3. Save – High school students may feel it’s too early to start thinking seriously about saving, but an important lesson in financial literacy is that it is truly never too early. The financially trying days of college will be upon your students before they know it, so encourage them to put away a little money now – they’ll thank you later!

4. Grow your earnings – Even the strongest budget could benefit from some extra funds to work with. To close out this lesson, encourage your students to explore ways to earn money during the school year, every experience earning and dealing with money only improves their financial literacy skills!

If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll also enjoy reading about results and advice from real teachers who’ve taught financial literacy.

September 16, 2016

Financial Literacy Lesson Plans for the Upcoming School Year

September doesn’t just mean welcoming new students to the classroom; it is also time to finalize lesson plans for the year ahead. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when building financial literacy lesson plans for your students this school year.

Start with the Fundamentals

By making assumptions about students’ mastery of financial literacy concepts, even for those farther along in their school careers, you run the risk of leaving some students behind. When planning, it is important to begin with the fundamentals of personal finance. By asking simple, conceptual questions like ‘what is currency?’ or ‘what does it mean to be financially literate?’ you can create an inclusive environment for students at all levels of mastery of the content, as well as establish a framework from which to work in the year ahead.

Meet Students Where They Are

To begin – it is important to first assess what your students already know, any misconceptions they may have and the areas in which they feel most confident. Many students began financial literacy education late, or have never had a formal lesson at all. By assessing the classroom during the first days and weeks of the school year, you can modify and optimize your lessons to have the greatest impact on the students you will be working with every day for the next nine months.

Gather Resources

Successful lessons engage students using a variety of media. Before school is back in session, gather videos, quizzes, lesson plans and real-life case studies that illustrate best practices in money management, budgeting, and financial planning.

Assessment and Key Learnings

Financial literacy lessons like all subjects, particularly those based in mathematical concepts, build on each other. When planning lessons it is important to build in ample time for review and frequent assessments, be it short quizzes, end-of-unit tests or presentations and group projects. At the end of each lesson, return to the fundamentals you began with. This will show how the concepts build throughout the year.

The Resources for Teachers tab on the Pathway to Financial Success website will help you bring crucial financial education knowledge to your class room.

September 8, 2016

Heading Back to School on a Budget

Back to school season is a busy time for teachers. Between decorating your classroom, making lesson plans, and shopping for school supplies, all of that running around can drain your energy and your wallet.

But don’t worry – like all busy shopping seasons, back-to-school burnout can be easily avoided with some smart and strategic planning. Here we’ll share some tips for making a savvy back-to-school budget, along with advice on how to make it last.

Make a List

If you rely on just your memory to keep track of everything you need before you head back to school, you’re likely to forget something and will probably end up doing a lot of unnecessary running back and forth.

To prevent oversight, make a list of everything you need to shop for, from notebooks and folders to sweaters and shoes. Whether you make one master list or break it down into categories (clothing, classroom, crafts, etc.), having a visual list will help you stay focused and minimize the amount of trips you’ll need to accomplish your goals.

For a mobile option, keep your list on your smartphone, or in written in a small notebook – because nothing beats crossing things off a to-do list!

Tap Your Social Network

It’s true that there’s strength in numbers, especially when it comes to hunting for bargains. Whether you are friends with teachers, parents, or grad students, chances are you can round up a few other back-to-school shoppers to join you for a money-saving scavenger hunt.

Make it fun! Meet up before hand to look up deals online, compare notes on what supplies each person needs to find, and delegate items to everyone in the group. Carpool to the stores you need hit, and split up to cover more ground individually. You’ll save time, energy, and hopefully some money. For added incentive, suggest that the rest of the group treat the savviest shopper to a celebratory lunch.

Teacher Trade

This tip can be useful before back-to-school season or at the end of any semester throughout the year. As you change up your classroom for different seasons, round up all of the items you won’t be using anymore and see if other teachers are interested in trading you for them. It can save everyone money, and you never know – one teacher’s trash could be just what you need to complement your new lesson plans.

What tips do you have for tackling your back-to school budget?

August 23, 2016

Financial Bucket List: End-of-Summer Edition

Summer is flying by and before we know it we will be getting ready for back-to-school season.

If you’re a teacher, however, chances are you’ve been keeping busy and using your vacation as an opportunity to supplement your income and prepare for the year ahead. Just in case, here are a few reminders of things to check off of your end-of-summer bucket list by the time school starts. Read more