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

August 10, 2016

Education Trends for the 2016 – 2017 School Year

As the summer comes to a close and the classroom is right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to share the trends and technologies that will be impacting teachers in classrooms across the country this year. The technologies of tomorrow are more accessible than ever, and this year they will be more integrated into the classroom experience than ever before.  Read more

August 1, 2016

Financial Literacy: Results and Advice from Real Teachers Who’ve Taught it

By now we are all well aware that financial literacy has endless benefits for students. According to data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation, high school students who are required to take personal finance courses have better average credit scores and lower debt delinquency rates as young adults. Read more

June 30, 2016

We’re halfway through 2016! How’s your financial plan holding up?

June brings us to the halfway point in the year; oh how time flies! You may remember that in January we outlined a year-long budget to help you structure and maintain a smart financial plan this year. We also urged you to share your journey with your students for a lesson in financial education. Now that the halfway point is upon us, let’s take a minute to review and evaluate your progress. Read more

June 16, 2016

Finance-Friendly Father’s Day

Father’s Day sneaks up on us every year. Mother’s Day comes and goes, and then before we know it, we’re scrambling at the eleventh hour to find the perfect gift for dear old Dad, wading hopelessly through a sea of neckties and golf socks.

Like we’ve said before: last-minute shopping is the worst.  Not only is it frustrating, but you often end up spending more than you’d like on a gift that’s, well, kind of cliché. Read more

June 7, 2016

Financial Literacy Lessons Wrap-Up

As the end of the school year is upon us and students head home for the summer, many teachers are asking themselves about the lessons they hope their students will take home with them. While every teacher will come up with different ideas about what financial literacy lessons are most important for their unique group of students, we have listed some standout financial literacy skills that teachers should make sure students keep top of mind until they return in the fall, and beyond. Read more

May 23, 2016

Summer Budget for High School Graduates

College is expensive, and it’s often the first time young people are on their own, working toward financial independence. The summer between high school and college is the perfect time for students to put financial literacy lessons learned throughout high school into practice – make a budget, earn and save money, and set themselves up for success in the next four years. Teachers can impart these lessons to graduating seniors who are entering college in the fall. Read more