Author Topic: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback  (Read 3628 times)

Dezrah

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PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« on: July 28, 2014, 11:05:21 AM »
I had to basically teach myself everything I know about personal finance.  The process has inspired me to put together a Personal Finance Class lesson plan aimed at those in middle and high school.  There's a strong possibility I will be able teach a summer class at my old school. 

I've attached what I've developed so far.  This is still a fairly rough draft and it doesn't include the various handouts and graphs I intend to incorporate.  I'm mostly looking for corrections to errors (i.e. I misstate the basic intention of 529 accounts) and obvious gaps I'm still missing.

I hope to keep the course to no more than 1.5 hours over 5 days.  More than anything, I just want this to be a class that raises their awareness more than mandates a particular philosophy.  For example, when they start their first job and hear about the 401k plan, their memory triggers the thought, "Oh yeah, I've heard about those.  I should do more research to remind myself how these work, but in the meantime I should at least put in enough to get the match."

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

nawhite

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2014, 11:53:26 AM »
If you haven't already heard of it, check out Junior Achievement (ja.org). They are the largest financial literacy training program in the US for students. They have pre-made materials, lesson plans, game ideas etc and will usually give it to you for free (paid for by a sponsoring company). Their lessons are fun for the kids, fun to teach, and they have pre- and post-tests to verify that the students learned something.

At the middle school level the lesson you want is: Economics for Success
At the high school level it is called: JA Personal Finance

Dezrah

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 12:14:22 PM »
If you haven't already heard of it, check out Junior Achievement (ja.org). They are the largest financial literacy training program in the US for students. They have pre-made materials, lesson plans, game ideas etc and will usually give it to you for free (paid for by a sponsoring company). Their lessons are fun for the kids, fun to teach, and they have pre- and post-tests to verify that the students learned something.

At the middle school level the lesson you want is: Economics for Success
At the high school level it is called: JA Personal Finance

Thank you for this, nawhite.  I'll read through it and check them out.

Joggernot

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2014, 12:18:59 PM »
I hope to keep the course to no more than 1.5 hours over 5 days.  More than anything, I just want this to be a class that raises their awareness more than mandates a particular philosophy.  For example, when they start their first job and hear about the 401k plan, their memory triggers the thought, "Oh yeah, I've heard about those.  I should do more research to remind myself how these work, but in the meantime I should at least put in enough to get the match."
You have 20 lessons with a great amount of information that you want to impart on these people who have basically no financial knowledge.  Maybe I don't understand, but you seem to give them 1.5 hours over 5 days to learn everything you learned on you own over several years.  Only 10 minutes for Lesson 0 on Definitions is way too little time, other than just to give them the definitions and move on without any further information.  Maybe put the definitions closer to the subject needing the definitions.  IMO you have too much information for each lesson and for the level of the student.  Of course my assumptions might be wrong.  If you want them to remember and then go look it up, then you need to focus on how to look these things up on financial blogs, pages, sites, etc.  Show them how to find sources; what to search for; etc.

Just noticed the posting for JA.  +1 for JA.  Excellent source of material that has been in use for many years.

Dezrah

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2014, 01:04:39 PM »

You have 20 lessons with a great amount of information that you want to impart on these people who have basically no financial knowledge.  Maybe I don't understand, but you seem to give them 1.5 hours over 5 days to learn everything you learned on you own over several years.  Only 10 minutes for Lesson 0 on Definitions is way too little time, other than just to give them the definitions and move on without any further information.  Maybe put the definitions closer to the subject needing the definitions.  IMO you have too much information for each lesson and for the level of the student.  Of course my assumptions might be wrong.  If you want them to remember and then go look it up, then you need to focus on how to look these things up on financial blogs, pages, sites, etc.  Show them how to find sources; what to search for; etc.

My timing is rough and needs to be reevaluated, but you're absolutely right that there is no way I can teach everything I've learned in that time.  I think you're right about the fact that I need to tighten up the lessons and maybe drop certain bullet points altogether.  A "Further Reading" page and/or "Homework" section would probably be useful as well.

nawhite

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2014, 02:37:41 PM »
Just finished reading your lessons. You have a 300 level college class on personal finance right there, not a 7.5 hour intro in high school class. You can try broad, not deep but I'd be afraid it wouldn't stick. Assume they know less than you think they know. Use lots of worksheets and personal examples for each student. Play board/card games that relate. Take your time. For high school students I'd bet you could do a complete course of your length on any one of the following topics:

1) Credit Cards - What is a debit card? What is a credit card? How do they work? What is a credit score? Why do I need a good score? What affects my score?
2) Budgeting - What is a budget? How do I make a budget? Why do I need a budget? Spend less than you earn. How do student loans affect this?
3) Taxes - Why do we pay taxes? What do our taxes pay for? What are some of the different ways we pay taxes (sales, property, income, capital gains)? How is income tax calculated? How can we influence how much we pay in taxes (deductions, credits, 401ks etc)?
4) Retirement - (this one really needs budgeting first to make sense but when taught in a mustachian way like the Simple Math of Early Retirement can really open eyes or kids and adults). Compounding interest.

couponvan

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2014, 05:35:45 PM »
I will admit to only browsing the lessons. 

As a newbie to the forum who has 2 kids in your target demographics - middle and high, I think you might need some "tricks" to get them "hooked" on the message.  My kids liked the early retirement chart MMM had with the save 100% retire NOW, and the save 50% retire in 16 years.  We also use the McDonalds $.49 cone/$.99 sundae versus the Dairy Queen $4.89 blizzard comparison - you can enjoy ice cream 5/10 times at McDonalds or 1 time at DQ - which would you rather do? Kids are so used to catchy video games and technology that your outline may need some exciting examples to get their attention.

There is plenty of great information in your lesson plans.  I think it would be over my middle schooler's head, but my high schooler would be able to grasp more of the concepts.  It would definitely take longer than your allotted time though.

If you are teaching HS, I think it would be good to spend some time on how their savings in high school is calculated in financial aid for college.  Middle schoolers aren't thinking that far ahead yet. Student assets have a higher expected financial contribution % than parental assets in financial aid calculations.  However, if these are in a 401(k)/Roth IRA, are they counted as assets for financial aid? How about a savings account?

lpep

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2014, 06:15:09 PM »
High school ESL teacher here.

You have WAY too much information for a 1.5 hour class, and it's very lecture-y! I'm afraid all you're going to do is scare the kids away with too much information. Keep in mind that all you can do in a 1.5-hour class is lay a foundation. Make sure you leave room for questions. Make them involved.

The first thing you need to do is make them care - maybe ask them what they think their parents spend in a month and go around the room getting answers. Something that makes them think. Keep it discussion-based and active (maybe they throw something to the next person to answer a question - kids love throwing things at each other). If you'd like, make a internet "treasure hunt" where they can find answers to kooky questions on MMM or Vanguard or a compound interest calculator after class.

Keep it broad, interactive, and keep them on their toes. And also assume everything will take about three times longer than you think it will.

NinetyFour

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2014, 06:15:51 PM »
Posting here so that I can follow this thread.

lpep

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2014, 04:23:34 AM »
Some activity ideas:

Brainstorm on the board in a cloud diagram (budget at the center, other categories branching out). Everything gets a place (there are no wrong answers). So someone says "video games" and it goes under "entertainment" or "misc." Someone says "shopping" and it goes under "clothes." Etc. Everyone contributes. At the end, you can point out things they missed briefly (maybe even have a student at the board writing).

Give every student a card with a profession and a reasonable salary. Teacher = $40k. Doctor = $100k. Barista = $25k. Engineer = $70k. Ask them to make a budget based on the brainstorming above. (Taxes would be a good thing to bring up here!) Have them calculate how much money they would have each month, and then at the end of one year. Bonus points if they can save! (Make it a competition.)

You can then give them a card with a BIG purchase on it. A $4k TV, or a $250k house, or a $20k car, or other crazy things. You can use this to explain how debt works and how they'll have to work it into their budget.

You could make a spreadsheet to show them how much their savings can compound over time.

Make sure at the end you ask them to review what they learned and ask how they're going to use it.

Remember: you can't make them learn. You're guiding them, they learn on their own. It needs to be interactive or they won't retain it.


I'm really jealous you get to teach something like this! Good luck!




JPinDC

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Re: PF Basics Class for High Schoolers, Looking for Feedback
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2014, 07:25:18 AM »
If you haven't already heard of it, check out Junior Achievement (ja.org). They are the largest financial literacy training program in the US for students. They have pre-made materials, lesson plans, game ideas etc and will usually give it to you for free (paid for by a sponsoring company). Their lessons are fun for the kids, fun to teach, and they have pre- and post-tests to verify that the students learned something.

At the middle school level the lesson you want is: Economics for Success
At the high school level it is called: JA Personal Finance

+1 to JA. I've used their lesson plans with middle schoolers in the DC area, and they're very well thought out for interest level of the kids and for time. If you go your own route, just be sure to prioritize what you have there. You won't be able to get through it all, so just cover key topics. This will depend on the demographics of your school (ie: how many are college or trade school bound vs. how many will start working right out of high school), but for high school age, I would say that's college tuition & student loans, credit vs. debit/credit cards & interest rates, maybe delving a little more into future job choices and going through how a paycheck breaks down (taxes, rent, food, etc.). My JA class had a good budgeting lesson where each kid was given a job and corresponding salary, and then had the option to choose different levels of luxury/convenience for food, rent, transportation, clothing, etc. Good luck!