Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to Teach Children the Value of Money

When my grandsons lived nearby, I took them on several small trips during their summer vacation each year. As a teacher, I had time off too. We went to zoos, museums, whale watching, etc. To save money, the first stop we made on the first trip each summer was to a gift shop. There I let them buy any hat they wanted. I didn’t even look at the price.

This was their only souvenir for the entire summer. No matter how many places we went, I paid for gas, tickets and food. When they were older, and the trips became longer, I also paid the hotel bill. At mealtime I taught them about leaving tips, dining where there were discounts and the like. They learned how to stretch the budget so money was left over for more rides at the zoo and other attractions.

On a weeklong trip to San Diego, we hit all the famous sites. As always, the first stop was at a gift shop where each bought a commemorative hat. Two days later, while walking through the San Diego Zoo, my younger grandson learned about "opportunity cost". Something on a souvenir cart caught his eye. “Grandma, Can I have that?”

“Sure, Honey. But it costs about what lunch will tomorrow, so which do you want more?” His brother answered for him, “Forget about it. We’re having lunch!”

Using fun times to teach real world financial lessons is pretty simple. Just be straight with kids. Money is a finite resource. If you spend it in one place, you don’t have it to spend elsewhere. This works when planning for college too.

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Photo Credit: Google Images

Monday, December 5, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for Language Classes

Help students start the New Year off right. Students will soon be selecting their classes for the fall semester. This lesson will encourage them to do what is best; continue their French or German study. Although some people do not keep resolutions, many do.

I always started off with an example from real life. Decades ago my dentist told me I was dehydrated and needed to drink more water. But, I don’t like the taste of water. That year I resolved to drink a full glass of water after brushing my teeth each morning. I still do. I even drink one after brushing my teeth at night.

Talk to students about how they too can improve their lives in some little way. It can be health related (sleeping ten hours each night), relationship related (be nicer to their little sister), school related (homework before electronics), whatever. 

The goal of this lesson is to get students thinking about doing what is good for them in baby steps. You will also sneak in a little practice in vocabulary and use of the future tense.

Supplies Needed: One large white poster. If this is not available to you on campus for free, go to Smart and Final or some other restaurant supply store and buy yourself a roll of white butcher paper. It is much less expensive, and has many uses. Two fine felt tipped pens of two different colors. I used black and blue, but any two dark contrasting colors will do.Two wide, felt tipped pens of two different colors. Pick colors that are bright, cheerful and easy to read from a distance.

1. Using the wide pens put the title BONNES RÉSOLUTIONS DE NOUVEL AN or NEUJAHRVORSĂ„TZE on the top of the poster. Beneath that write the fragment: “ Je vais…” or “Ich werde…”

2. Create two columns on the poster, numbering one through the total number of students you have enrolled in all your classes combined.

3. As a homework assignment, have students write down one little thing they could do which would make their lives just a little bit better (In the language they are studying, of course). Give them an example or two from your life.

4. The next day, have them check each other’s grammar and spelling. You can check it yourself during class time, or during your prep.

5. Have students make corrections. Once complete, while the class is busy with another task, have each student put his/her resolution on the poster using a thin felt marker, alternating colors to improve legibility. Have them place their initials next to their resolutions.

6. Give them points for this assignment. Encourage them to write their resolutions in their school planners and read them over at the beginning of each day. Explain to them the power of “intent”. 

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Importance of Education