Monthly Archive for December, 2011

Making Money Matter – Teaching Financial Literacy in Primary School

There are many resources to support teachers in building financial capability in our pupils – whether that is for teaching financial understanding (so that pupils have the skills required to deal confidently with everyday financial issues and make informed decisions and choices about their personal finances), financial competence (being able to identify and tackle problems or issues with confidence and being able to manage financial situations effectively and efficiently), financial responsibility (having the skills to budget wisely and plan for the future to look after themselves and their environment), and financial enterprise (where pupils will be able to deploy resources in an imaginative and confident manner).

Here are some Financial Literacy Resources online:

Brian Page (@FinEdChat) describes why it is important to teach concepts of financial literacy to primary pupils and also links to a variety of US resources to support the various elements of that for different age-groups.

Australia’s New South Wales Education Department has produced The Lifeskills Consumer and Financial Literacy Programme

From the Australian Government comes Teaching Fincial literacy – a searchable database of teaching resources from a wide variety of sources worldwide. Just choose the age group to browse the resources to best suit the purpose.

The Personal Finance Education Group an independent charity helping schools to plan and teach personal finance relevant to students’ lives and needs. Their mission is to give all young people the skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters to thrive in our society. This site provides resources to support learning about money. 

My Money Primary Toolkit from England’s Department for Education offers lessons and activities that can form the basis of a core personal finance education curriculum.

Education Scotland has produced a series of resources to support Financial Education in schools, including case studies.  

The Young Scot website Money section is devoted to providing information about money for those aged 11 and over for those in Scotland, and covers many areas in sections.

My Money Online is a downloadable activity pack and series of online resources – lesson ideas, games and activities – to support schools in teaching about financial literacy.

Financial Soccer is an excellent games-based learning approach to teaching about financial literacy where pupils answer questions at their chosen age and level of understanding on aspects of financial literacy, in order to advance in the simulated game of football online. In addition to the game itself (which is highly configurable by the pupils) there are links to helpful notes and guidance about financial literacy related to the questions which will appear in the game. There is also an American Football version of the game.

Disney’s The Great Piggy Bank Adventure  is an online virtual board game that educates children on the importance of wise financial planning. The aim is to learn about important financial concepts and use these lessons to complete the game and achieve their dream goals. This is aimed at pupils from ages 8 to 14 to learn the basics of setting goals, saving and spending wisely, inflation, asset allocation and diversification, making choices and how they will affect their financial plans.

My Savings Quest is a US games-based approach to planning finances for fictional characters to be able to afford all they need and save for those items they wish to possess. There is a video introduction to the game, and then in playing the game the pupil chooses a character, including their avatar for that character, and the employment of their choice. This then presents them with a series of challenges where choices have to be made – so planning  and keeping within a budget are key to a pupil scoring highly in the game so their fictional character can meet their obligations and yet still plan for purchases which are desirable though not essential, and all without overstretching themselves in their fictional finances.

Spent is a US site in which users become players in a simulated life game where choices have an impact on their fictional finances. Aimed at older learners this game provides a series of situations where the player chooses from a number of scenarios. Each then presents them with the financial implications of their choices and presents further choices. Each choice made relates back to what impact this would have on the fictional character’s choices – and how this relates to many real-life situations for many people facing the same choices in real life.

The Royal Bank of Scotland has produced a MoneySense for Schools website. This combines information and guidance for teachers and pupils, as well as age-specific games, magazines and more dedicated to supporting teaching about financial literacy.

Edutopia Financial Literacy has lesson plans and resources to support teaching about all aspects of learning about money management at all ages and stages.

Sense & Dollars is a US site aimed at older pupils with interactive activities, games and information about money and how to be financially literate.

The Mint for kids is a US site from Northwestern Mutual which provides interactive activities to for pupils about handling money in life choices for them.

Richard Byrne on his Free technology for Teachers blog has a post about resources to support teaching about Financial Literacy. This includes an infographic poster about reasons for the need for this. There are also links to a variety of resources for different ages. These include helping pupils understand why taxes are paid to governments and how these are used. These are resources aimed at the USA but much can be adapted for use elsewhere.

Financial Fairy Tales “Learning before Earning!” – is a series of stories aimed at children with a financial literacy theme. In addition this site provides links to a number of free online resources for teaching financial literacy. 

The US Mint for Kids – resources aboout coins, their stories, why we have them, and games with coin themes.

The Euro Games provide a series of games and information teaching pupils about the Euro and the history of money in European nations.

37 Sites for Teaching Kids about Money and Finance is a list of sites collated and described by Julie Greller of sites for different ages and stages on the theme of teaching about financial literacy.

Financial literacy resources is an article by Astrid Riecken in the Washington Post which provides links to a host of resources to support teaching financial literacy.

Falkirk Council has collated a wide range of Financial Education resources grouped according to age group, matched to Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes, and linked to different curricular areas, as well as detailing which aspects of financial education are covered with each resource. 

Nursery – Primary – Secondary – Additional Support

Slimber – replaying the drawing process

Slimber is an online drawing application which allows users to draw online, replay and save their drawings online.

And it’s the replaying of how the image was created which makes this a useful tool in a teaching situation – though teacher caution would be advised as to how it was used, given that anyone can comment on images and any image can be uploaded.

The gallery of art creations by users of Slimber has a range of images created by others which can be searched on a range of art styles and techniques. Simply by clicking on any one of them brings up the completed image, and under each image is a replay control button. So when you click on this play button you see how the image was created – and you can pause at any point.

This makes the tool great for teachers demonstrating art techniques or how particular styles of art can be produced, and for being able to replay over and over to see how different techniques produce different effects. Since users can add comments to each gallery image teachers would wish to exercise caution in how they use this tool.

Exploring the Outdoor Classroom with Nature Detectives

Take your classroom outside!

Nature Detectives is run by The Woodland trust, whose mission is to create, protect and inspire people about woods and trees. So if you are looking to take your classroom outside then this is a very helpful resource full of ideas for making the experience fun, meaningful and full of learning opportunities.

The Woodland Trust sets out to provide schools with an extensive range of resources. They are designed to help teachers deliver outdoor learning, inspiring children about nature, woods and trees. And the website is full of resources to support teachers do that – at all times of the year, all seasons and all weathers. 

There are classification identification sheets (often presented in a variety of game formats) for all that you might find in woods in the UK, there are puzzles and games, suggested activities clearly described, and guides to making a whole host of creations oudoors using what is found outside. And there is a variety of templates for teachers or their pupils to make their own resources to suit their own needs and locations.

In addition to the resources for use outside there are also plenty of online activities provided too. And everything is matched to curriculum guidelines. There are also award schemes for schools, and resources for use in school assemblies. A great resources for taking your classroom outside!

The Great Plant Hunt is a resources from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew encouraging pupils to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and become interested in plants around them. Activities and resources are provided for specific age groups.

Education Scotland has also created a series of resources to support schools incorporate outdoor learning in learning and teaching.

Adding deeper understanding, fun and choice to classroom project tasks with Learning Event Generator

Teachers often look for fresh ways of setting classroom tasks for pupils to demonstrate their learning. That is, to be able to show that they have understood what they have been learning by presenting or applying that information in a different form to the way in which it may have been taught or learned. This gives pupils the chance to show a deeper understanding of information , concepts or processes, while at the same time having some fun. Also teachers have found that learners given freedom to choose or personalise their learning can be more engaged with that learning.

One way of finding imaginative ways for pupils to demonstrate their learning, while also having fun and giving choice to learners, is to use a Learning Event Generator such as created by John Davitt. He has created a series of Learning Event Generators from his original idea based on feedback from many other teachers, some tailored to specific curricular areas but with ones suitable for any curricular area or classroom task.

With a simple click a task is randomly generated, matching the subject of the learning with an activity. So it might be “Do the continents of the world as a dot-to-dot activity” or “do the life cycle of a tadpole as a role play.” And with 400 possible permutations randomly generated in the first Learning Event Generator a teacher or pupils can click a few times to find an activity which provides the stimulus for the activity. Of course the subject can also be set by the teacher and the generator simply used as a means to provide the way of presenting it. The generators are quick and easy to use and to adapt any idea to any learning situation. They don’t have to be used as the hard and fast stated activity but can readily be adapted to other situations or provide the spark for an idea by teachers of learners to use in their own learning situation.

The Magical Maths blog has provided a list of 50 different ways in which pupils could demonstrate their understanding of their learning. Although the title suggests this is for maths lessons the ideas can be applied in many situations.

Alternatives to traditional homework – a post in the form of a chart which provides tasks which might be considered traditional tasks set by teachers to help embed learning in their students, as well as provide a form of assessment, alongside alternative tasks which might instead be set to more fully engage a learner in their own learning.

Kenny O’Donnell provides examples of this in practice with his pupils here
Here also are some examples of the learning event generator used in classrooms

101 Ways to show what you know – a visual infographic poster shared by Greg Miller of different ways for pupils to demonstrate their learning in any context, with suggestions grouped into four categories: visual, written, performance or spoken.

So whether you wish to use the original Learning Event Generator, or one of the others such as the Homework Generator (e.g. “do whatever your teacher told you as a public service announcement at a station”) these tools, with a click of a button, can quickly provide ideas to use in a learning experience across the curriculum. And if the first idea doesn’t seem to work for you or your learners, then a few more clicks and the activity generator will either display an idea which engages you or your learners, or spark an idea to adapt.

Efficient Ways to check for understanding – a post by Todd Finley which provides a list of 53 ways to check for understanding which may also increase engagement with learning by pupils.

Global Citizenship – Connecting Classrooms

“In today’s globalised society, connecting, collaborating and working together with people in other countries is an increasing part of everyday reality – from business, to leisure and beyond.”

This introduction to Global Citizenship is from the British Council’s eTwinning schools portal 

“Bringing an International Dimension to Childrens’ Education has never been more important if we are to prepare them for life in the 21st century. eTwinning is all about enabling you, your pupils, your class and your school to connect and work with partners online. It is not about creating extra work, but providing a framework for exciting curriculum work with partners in another country. There are many benefits to linking up with another school.”

Click here also to see one definition of Global Citizenship from Oxfam, which a project like this could help support.

The British Council’s  Schools Online site provides support for collaboration between schools and advocates global citizenship for young people worldwide. This site provides a means for teachers to safely and securely find partner schools elsewhere in the world.

It has templates for projects to help get started. These are for various age groups and each has a different focus, whether for history, culture, geography, music, learning English or another language, or many other topics. These templates have downloadable resources and each also has a dedicated online forum for registered teachers to get support from others using the same project. There are teacher toolkits to support teachers in various aspects of any project, including a Guide to Technologies for Teachers. And there are links to how incorporating Global Citizenship into the work of your classroom fits curricular guidelines.

There are also links to many other online tools and resources (such as links to various resources specifically aimed at assemblies which also match to calendar events, such as national days around the world, festivals, celebrations, or international sporting events) all of which help support teachers in connecting classrooms across the globe.

Many teachers who have undertaken projects involving connecting their classroom with other classrooms elsewhere in the world often share how engaged their pupils are with their peers in the partner classrooms, and with the learning around which the collaboration has been built. And in the process many teachers also find an enthusiasm working with global colleagues which sparks development of further projects. So if you haven’t yet connected your classroom globally a good place to start is having a look at the resources at The British Council Schools Online portal.

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