Teacher’s Domain Resources
I really like this site and have used it pretty regularly. It has great resources for US History, Economics, and World History. I found this lesson that I plan on using to explain to students where their tax dollars go. In the lesson, students learn why our government levies taxes, where they money actually goes, and how different income brackets pay different taxes.
In the first part of the lesson, students analyze a sample paycheck stub and discern between gross and net income, as well as learn what the different deductions from their paycheck are for. We then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each of these tax deductions and students compute what percentage of income is taken out for taxes for the given pay stub they analyze.
In the second part of the lesson students compare the different types of deductions and the impact of saving their money over time in a retirement account like a 401(k), and in the third part of the lesson they discuss where, exactly, they think their tax dollars should go and which programs they should support.
I found this resource that I could use to supplement my lesson on unemployment. While we normally go through the different types of unemployment and label them and discuss the causes of each, this gives students a practical look at how they can best prepare themselves to be employed in the future.
This page has a short explanation of how your level of education affects your employability. It links to an article that gives further explanation and examples of how gender and education are linked to employment rates too.
Skype in the Classroom
My Skype username is colleen.davenport81 and here is evidence of me using Skype to chat with my husband and my sweaty baby on a humid summer’s day. 🙂
I’ve been brainstorming for awhile how I would use Skype in my classroom and I’ve come up with these ideas:
- Contacting a professor at MSU or another university and having him/her explain a tricky economics topic to my classes.
- Each semester I have a banker come speak to my classes about personal, real-life banking, investments, and budgeting. I think using Skype to do this would be great because then they can stay at their offices and get some work done in between classes, plus they don’t have to travel. While they have given out materials to students in the past, I could have them mail materials or drop them off ahead of time (or I could pick them up). I think this saves everyone time and still gives students an interactive opportunity.
- Chatting with students who are absent about what we covered in class, even if I chat with them from home. I’ve had some students miss extended amounts of time due to illnesses and this would be so helpful! Even if students missed just a day of class and wanted to catch up and clarify, this would be helpful.
- Chatting with students and creating an online office hour session (I could create a group in Skype for this) for students to ask questions. This would be really great with a hybrid class that doesn’t meet everyday. I could set up office hours during the time we would normally meet and/or have times in the evening for them to chat.
- Have students work in groups even if someone is absent. They can Skype and discuss what they need to work on.
I’ve also used Google Hangouts (and I’ve even used it as a baby monitor when we forgot our monitor while visiting friends) and I really like how it’s integrated with my Google account so that I don’t have to log in to another tool.
I haven’t really used back channel chats before, but I can see using one while I’m explaining a concept, or even just having one open during most class sessions for students to ask questions of one another. I suppose not every activity we do would require a back channel chat, but it would be nice for students to be able to get ideas from one another.
I found the following budget spreadsheet template and it would be super useful for the personal finance unit I do with my students. Part of the unit includes creating a detailed budget based on the starting salary of the job they hope to get once they graduate college or trade school. I would make some modifications to this template, but I think it would be more useful than having students do this portion in the word document I share with them. The most useful part is that students can enter in their numbers and it gives them totals in the spreadsheet so they don’t have to do it by hand!
Google Docs and Doodle
Here is a presentation I use for my students that I made in Google Docs on Demand Elasticity. I had Dan make some comments in it as well of things I could improve with it.
And here is a Doodle I made with Dan. I’ve used Doodle for several years now and I really like it. It’s such a simple way to see when people are free and to schedule a meeting or plan an event. We use it with friends and with colleagues since it’s such a useful tool!
Student Usage: I use Google Docs quite often with students. I often create spreadsheets for students to post links to share their work and I encourage them to use Google tools to work together on their assignments. For example, when students create their budgets, they work together for one section of it and so I have them use Google docs to share their work and collaborate in real time instead of sharing files back and forth. I also have them create websites together and presentations about econ concepts together.
Trello and Lino
Below is an image of a Trello I made for home/personal use. We have an old house that needs some updating, so I made this to start organizing the projects and to create checklists for them. I can also see using this tool in my classroom to organize the lessons I need to create or update for units of study. (I’d probably give each unit it’s own board with it’s own set of checklists). This tool definitely beats using sticky notes because all the information is in one place instead of on several notes!
While I didn’t create a new board on Lino, I did brainstorm a bunch of things I’m excited to do with it. I’ve used a similar tool in the past called Padlet (it used to be called Wall Wisher) and it’s a fun, easy tool to use. I think Lino might be even easier though! I plan on having students use it to:
- read articles and post their summaries and their responses to questions about those articles. I would put students into groups and each group would respond on their assigned board.
- create boards to present to the class on an assigned topic
- create boards to organize group projects in class and list out what they are each going to contribute and post links and images to share with their group members
- build a wiki-type page that is much more aesthetically pleasing (and easier to use) than an actual wiki
I think I could also use it to post lists of resources for each unit of study as well. I have a class website with that information on it, but maybe I will experiment with creating a Lino page and seeing if students like viewing the information in that format better. I can put the links and images and assignments I use all on a Lino page and link to it from my website so students have everything all on one screen.
How I use my classroom website
I have had a classroom website for several years. It’s an invaluable tool for communicating with students and parents, posting assignments, posting due dates and information about upcoming assessments, and to have a class presence that students can access at any time and any place.
I have recently updated my class website; I originally had it hosted on my own domain, but since I didn’t teach this year and I may not go back next year, I decided not to continue paying for the domain name. So, I migrated everything into WordPress instead (which was easy since I had WordPress installed on my other domain!). When I migrated over, some of the links to the videos I use as well as the links to assignments that I share with students via my dropbox, were disabled. I re-enabled a few of the video links and the first assignment link on this page so you can get an idea of what I share with students.
When students go to my site, they will see the weekly assignments and due dates as well as the learning objectives for each day’s lesson. When they click on a unit page, they will find video resources and links to assignments. If they ever forget what they are supposed to do for the class, it’s all on the website! They can also find links to note-taking tools and reading guides. I rely so heavily on my class website that I can’t imagine teaching without it. It’s where I put ALL of my classroom materials and supporting tools so that students can access the class all of the time.
In addition to the class site, I use Moodle as a place for students to upload assignments and to complete formative and summative assessments. Using Moodle has enabled me to give students almost immediate feedback, and because of that, I have more time to give students to re-take assessments in order to master the material. If you’d like guest access to my Moodle class, let me know and I’d be happy to let you take a look around!
Part 1: Diigo
Link to my diigo page: https://www.diigo.com/user/teacherleenDiigo will help me be more productive because I can access my bookmarks anywhere, on any device. If I’m planning at home and need to find the link at school, it will be in diigo. So helpful! I used to use Delicious, but I hadn’t used it in years so I think my account was terminated. 😦 But as I lesson plan and find new tools, I will add them to diigo and I will use their “Lists” feature so that I can organize the sites I find even better. It definitely beats emailing myself links to sites to use in the future because every site I add is in one place, is organized into a list, and is tagged for easy searching.
Another diigo feature I discovered is that when I highlight text on a webpage, it gives me the option to annotate it and save my note for when I visit the page again. That is awesome! I can see having students use that feature to do research and using it myself to leave “sticky notes” on pages to remind me what I use/need on a particular page.
Part 2: Dropbox
I have used Dropbox for several years now and I don’t think I could go back to uploading documents to a flashdrive or my school’s teacher drive. It’s so convenient to be able to access my files anywhere at anytime, and to know that when I save something to Dropbox I have the most up-to-date version. I remember accidentally sending my flashdrive through the washing machine years ago and feeling panicked that I lost all of my work (even though it was on my computer, I wasn’t sure if all the changes I had made to files had been updated in both places.) Thankfully it still worked, but with Dropbox, I don’t need to carry that with me. I also don’t need to email myself documents to use at work or home since they’re all in one place. I love Dropbox and will probably never go back!