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Call for posts: November Project PLN

  You are really going to do this? You are going to make me BEG you to share?  If that is what it takes, that is what it takes!  The November issue of Project PLN is about ready…it is just missing one last thing, a post from YOU. We would be honored to have YOU (yes you) participate...

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Money Island: a financial literacy virtual world

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Character Education, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 08-02-2012

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What it is: Money Island is a neat site I found today while searching for some fun tie ins for our economic inquiry block at Anastasis.  This enchanting virtual world teaches students about money and how the economy works while they go on quests to destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis.  Students learn and practice the real-life principles of financial responsibility.  Students build knowledge and skills in three major areas including: saving and spending, earning and investing, and using credit wisely.  In addition to these major areas, students learn how to spend, grow and give money; the difference between wants, needs and taxes; different types of income; gain an understanding of interest; how to use credit wisely; and how to build wealth.
The site includes detailed lesson plans and activity suggestions for the classroom, as well as a specialized area within money island where teachers and parents can see what students are learning and track progress.
Money Island was created in partnership with the Young Americans Bank.  This bank was designed specifically for children under the age of 21!  Our students will be taking a field trip to the Young Americans Bank in Denver to continue their learning during this block.  If you are in the Denver area, it is a great field trip!
How to integrate Money Island into the classroom: Kids are not exposed to enough opportunities to learn and practice financial literacy.  Case in point: the national debt crisis, housing loan disaster, and credit card stats. It baffles me that we don’t spend more time in the classroom helping kids learn about money and finances!  Every teacher should take this on in some capacity, we can’t assume that someone else will teach it.  Kids need to learn about how the economy works prior to being neck deep in financial decisions on a daily basis.  Money Island is a fun introduction to all of this!
Students begin their journey in Money Island with a mission to help character Stone Broke.  Students choose a virtual side-kick who will guide them through Money Island and help them make important decisions.  Students are directed through a series of quests to help Stone Broke while learning about money and how to make sound financial decisions.
Money Island is a virtual world so it takes a bit of time to get all the way through it.  When students login, they are given a special key so they can pick up right where they left off in the game.  This is a great site for a one to one classroom environment or computer lab setting where each student has their own computer.  The site could also be used as a center activity on classroom computers with students rotating through the center throughout the week.  Because students can save their progress, they can play from both school and from home.
Money Island makes a fantastic tie-in to a money or economics unit for kids.
***Hint: Click “Join” to join.  For some reason the “Play” button is a little bit temperamental.  It worked for me the first time I played with it but not the second…not sure what that is all about!
Tips:   There is a new game featured on Money Island…Episode 2 helps students learn how to “win” at the credit game.  There are also fun mini games and comics on the site for kids to interact with and explore!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Money Island in  your classroom!

Reform Symposium 2011 FREE Worldwide Virtual Conference/Professional Development

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Reform Symposium Conference, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 21-12-2010

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Everyone could use FREE professional development.  As an organizer of the Reform Symposium, I wanted to personally invite you all to our annual Reform Symposium Conference for New Teachers (but don’t be fooled, it is really for ALL teachers), which will take place on Saturday, January 8th, 2011.  You can attend this worldwide conference from the comfort of your home or anywhere you have Internet access.  We have some of the best educational speakers in the world involved. This conference provides you the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide.  Over 2400 educators from 59 countries attended our last conference in July.  This year we will focus on interactive presentations that help teachers with creating engaging classrooms and lessons, building relationships with students, improving literacy, working with interactive whiteboards, and much more.  This year we look forward to 2 keynote speakers, 18 presentations, and open discussion on classroom management, a panel discussion on parental engagement, a mentor program, and an open lab for hands-on support in helping you continue your professional development in online educator communities.  You have never attended a conference quite like this one!  Join us for one session or multiples.

The Reform Symposium virtual conference has opportunities for continuing education credits, connections with educators around the world, an amazing lineup of raffle prizes (including prizes to EVERY educator who registers for the conference), and fantastic keynotes and presenters.

Check out the Reform Symposium website here or download the brochure here.

Please pass the word about this free conference, print out the brochure and stick it in the teachers lounge, stick it in teacher’s school mailboxes, and pass this post on to the administration at your school.

We hope to see you all there!

Hands on Banking

Posted by admin | Posted in Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 14-09-2007

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What it is: Hands on Banking is a free, fun financial education program that presents the basics of smart money management in an easy to use format game. Topics include budgeting, the importance of saving, bank accounts and services, borrowing money, establishing credit, investing, and more. The curriculum is appropriate for 4th through 12th grades.

How to integrate Hands on Banking into your curriculum: Use the Hands on Banking site as an extended learning activity for the economics or math classroom. Activities can be customized for each age group. The site works best in a computer lab setting because it takes time to get through the entire game. Use this activity at the end of an economics or money unit as a culminating activity.