Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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The Economics Classroom
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About the Teachers
 
 
Heather Anderson
Heather Anderson
10-12th Grade Economics; Honors Economics
Eau Gallie High School
Melbourne, Florida
Years teaching in all: 6
Years teaching this course: 3
Number of students in your class: 26

Heather Anderson has a degree in social science education and began her career in education teaching eighth grade American history. Currently, she teaches four economics honors classes and one Advanced Placement Microeconomics class at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida. She has been teaching economics since 1999.

Comments:
"I decided to teach high school. The only way I could move here was to teach world history and economics. And I thought, 'I can do it. I'll get through a couple of years and then I'll get rid of the economics and I'll be left with the world history.' And once I started teaching economics that's what I ended up loving. And so now I'm trying to get rid of the world history so that I can have all economics."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Price Floors (Workshop 3)
Price Ceilings (Workshop 3)
Compound Interest (Workshop 4)

 
Kendra Cheese
Kendra Cheese
9-12th Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies - Dept. Chair
Lakewood Senior High
Lakewood, Colorado
Years teaching in all: 32
Years teaching this course: 20
Number of students in your class: 28

Kendra Cheese teaches economics at Lakewood Senior High, located in western Jefferson County, a suburb of Denver, where she is the department chair for Social Studies. A Denver native, she has been teaching for 32 years. She received the Enterprising Teacher of the Year award for the Colorado Council of Economic Education in 2001. For the last four years she has been teaching Pre-International Baccalaureate economics to ninth graders.

Comments:
"Teaching ninth graders economics is a difficult challenge because they haven't had a lot of real world experiences. They don't drive, most of them have never worked, they're still in that transition period from their parents giving them allowance to knowing more about how to work with money. But ninth graders are enthusiastic and they're spontaneous and they like activities … they really enjoy them and don't look at them as being beneath them."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Property Rights (Workshop 3)

 
Dr. Eric M. Gernant
Dr. Eric M. Gernant
12 Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies
High School of Economics and Finance
New York City, New York
Years teaching in all: 31
Years teaching this course: 27
Number of students in your class: 31

Dr. Gernant studied received and M.A and Ph.D. in economics from Fordham University and has been teaching in the New York City school system since 1972. He transferred to New York City's High School of Economics and Finance since 1995. One of New York's specialized high schools, the High School of Economics and Finance offers a specialized curriculum focusing on finance and business-related courses.

Comments:
"Historically, social studies teachers hate to teach economics. You have very few teachers on the faculty in any high school, who have a masters degree, let alone a bachelors degree in economics. It's always a course that's farmed out to somebody who has the least seniority. And here I had an opportunity, I thought, with a passion for the subject, to really go into depth and give these kids a top-notch education."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Comparative Advantage and Specialization (Workshop 5)

 
Jay Grenawalt
Jay Grenawalt
11-12th Grades (Int'l Baccalaureate Level)
International Baccalaureate Program
George Washington High School
Denver, Colorado
Years teaching in all: 28
Years teaching this course: 17
Number of students in your class: 25

Jay Grenawalt has been teaching for over 25 years. Currently, he works with juniors and seniors in the international baccalaureate program at George Washington High School, teaching economics and history. He has been the recipient of many awards, including: the White House Fellowship Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, Commission on Presidential Scholars, 1994; the Boettcher Foundation Teacher Recognition Award, 1996; and the University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Award, 1997 and 1998.

Grenawalt's students are generally very committed and academically oriented. He notes that even those students who are "sort of in the middle of the pack" get swept up by the interest and the enthusiasm that many of the students have.

Comments:
"Too many American texts present economics from the American perspective only and we really do live in a global economy today. I try to find as many curricular materials that perhaps take us out of our own boundaries and look at it more in terms of how the Europeans might view it or the people in Asia or what have you …"

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Voluntary Trade (Workshop 1)
Global Trade (Workshop 5)
Gains From Trade (Workshop 5)
What Makes Countries Rich? (Workshop 8)

 
Brett Hardin
Brett Hardin
12th Grade IB Economics
Campbell High School
Smyrna, Georgia
Years teaching in all: 6
Years teaching this course: 5
Number of students in your class: 14

Brett Hardin is a social studies teacher who began teaching economics in 1996. Hardin has B.A. in history from Wesleyan University and a M.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a STAR teacher from 1998 through 2002, received the 2000-2001 BellSouth-Atlanta Braves Excellence in Education Award and was Georgia Teacher of the Year for 2002.

Comments:
"One of the things about teaching economics has been that I'm a better American history teacher than I was before, because there are lots of moments in American history where major economic events have obviously had major social or political impacts. And the social studies teachers - we like to focus on the social and political. We shy away from the economics 'cause we don't always understand it."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Macroeconomics (Workshop 6)
Unemployment (Workshop 6)
Effects of Inflation (Workshop 6)

 
Ted Hartsoe
Ted Hartsoe
11-12th Grade AP Economics
Department of Social Sciences
Choate Rosemary Hall
Wallingford, Connecticut
Years teaching in all: 18
Years teaching this course: 18
Number of students in your class: 10-15

Ted Hartsoe teaches economics at Choate Rosemary Hall, a small private secondary school in Connecticut. The school has about 800 students and the economics program is an important feature in the curriculum. Mr. Hartsoe's economics classes are very popular elective choices. He teaches microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and an advanced topics course in economics. In 2001 he was named a Nasdaq Teacher of the Year and the student team he coached won the NCEE's first nationwide Economics Challenge.

Comments:
"It's important for all the students, not just AP-level students, to know about basic economic indicators … They have to be able to put those into context and understand what that tells them about the performance of the national economy. So they can understand what the politicians are saying to them and political candidates, and what that means in terms of policy - fiscal policy and monetary policy. I think every citizen needs to have an understanding of those indicators and what they mean and what those numbers are telling them."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Measuring Inflation (Workshop 6)
Fiscal Policy (Workshop 7)
How Money Works (Workshop 7)
Business and Finance (Workshop 8)

 
Marc A. Johnson
Marc A. Johnson
11-12th Grade Economics (elective)
Smoky Hill High School
Aurora, Colorado
Years teaching in all: 8
Years teaching this course: 4
Number of students in your class: 30

Marc Johnson is the Social Studies Department Coordinator and a teacher at Smoky Hill High School. He has taught middle school, high school and community college for over 18 years. He received the Teacher of the Year Award from Horizon Community Middle School in 1995, the Enterprising Teacher of the Year Award from the Colorado
Council on Economic Education in December 2000, and was one of four Colorado teachers selected by the NCEE to do a study tour of St. Petersburg, Russia, and establish an international classroom partnership in March 2002.

Comments:
"A very good young social studies teacher said, 'what were you guys doing?' I told him they were filming the economics course as kind of a 'how to' economics. 'You know,' he said, 'you could throw me into any social studies class - anthropology, psychology, sociology, history, geography -- and I could handle them all except for economics. I wouldn't feel comfortable there.' So the challenge is how do you get these guys, who have avoided economics in the past, how can you get them up to speed with economics? And I'm convinced the answer is through strong state councils offering courses that are non-threatening, friendly, and I think we need to attack it in two ways: a content base, so they really have some economic understanding. Then help give them some lessons and activities and things that they can do. I don' t think one is good without the other. You know, there are demands on teachers to bring their literacy training up to speed … and … econ is one more thing stacked on top of that."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Salaries and Wages (Workshop 4)
Millionaires (Workshop 4)
Education Pays Off (Workshop 4)

 
Richie H. Kibota
Richie H. Kibota
12th Grade Economics (elective)
Iolani High School
Honolulu, Hawaii
Years teaching in all: 11
Years teaching this course: 9
Number of students in your class: 18

Richie Kibota teaches at Iolani High School. Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, the K-12 school in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a culturally diverse, co-educational college preparatory school. A member of the Hawaii Council on Economic Education, his students (at Moanalua High School) won the Hawaii state economics challenge contest in 1999, and his students at Iolani won the 2002 Hawaii state economics challenge. An economics teacher since 1983, Kibota has taught both advanced placement and microeconomics courses and currently teaches an elective 12th grade economics class.

Comments:
"This course is strictly an economics course. It's not a financial management course and it's not a consumer education course. It's teaching microeconomic concepts. These students will become smarter consumers and make better decisions when it comes to finances down the road."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Cartels and Competition (Workshop 2)

 
Dee Mecham
Dee Mecham
9-12th Grades Honors, AP and Principles Economics
Kamehameha Schools
Honolulu, Hawaii
Years teaching in all: 6
Years teaching this course: 6
Number of students in your class: 18

Dee Mecham teaches at Kamehameha School in Honolulu, which is unique because all the students are of Hawaiian ancestry. The school was founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to support the Christian and Hawaiian values of the islands' children.
Mr. Mecham was a PhD student in economics at the University of Hawaii who found his part-time work as a college teaching assistant so exciting that he now teaches full-time at Kamehameha School. He teaches a one-semester Principles course (the regular level), a one-semester Honors course, and the yearlong Advanced Placement course. One semester of economics is required at any of the three levels. Mecham has received the 2002 "Economics Teacher of the Year" award for Hawaii from Hawaii Pacific University and the Hawaii Council on Economic Education.

Comments:
"I definitely try to use a lot of local examples. In fact when I started teaching classes at the University - I had come from Utah - so a lot of the examples that I had had to deal with parkas and skiing and snow. I've definitely switched and become more accustomed to using examples that have to do with surfboards and Spam musubis, some of the local foods here. It helps the kids to understand."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Price Controls (Workshop 3)

 
Mark Melkonian
Mark Melkonian
9th Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies
High School of Economics and Finance
New York City, New York
Years teaching in all: 6
Years teaching this course: 6
Number of students in your class: 25

Mark Melkonian supports his high school's overall mission to provide a rigorous curriculum with a special focus on finance and business, and to help students prepare for the business world and for college. Mr. Melkonian teaches history, as well as entrepreneurship classes.

Comments:
"It's not just starting and owning your own business, it's empowering young people and giving them the ability to see an opportunity and act on it and to improve their lives. And I think if young people get that message, that's the key. That's what I'm hopefully trying to do."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Entrepreneurs (Workshop 8)

 
Ghandi M. Moussa
Ghandi M. Moussa
9th Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies
High School of Economics and Finance
New York City, New York
Years teaching in all: 3
Years teaching this course: 3
Number of students in your class: 28

Ghandi Moussa teaches economics, including the school-required Welcome To Wall Street course, at the High School for Economics and Finance. Originally a social studies teacher, Mr. Moussa enjoys incorporating his passion for history and government studies into his economics' classes.

Comments:
"It's hard to make a case for the kids about the importance and the value of learning history and learning politics and government. It just doesn't seem to catch on. But with economics and finance they can see the relevance and the immediate effect on their own lives."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Patents and Copyrights (Workshop 8)

 
Carol Penland
Carol Penland
12th Grade Economics; Honors Economics
South Cobb High School
Austell, Georgia
Years teaching in all: 27
Years teaching this course: 25
Number of students in your class: 30

Carol Penland has been teaching economics for over 25 years. She received the "first" Teacher of the Year in Economics award for Georgia in 1986 and the founding president of the Georgia Association of Economic Educators in 1994. She has served on local, state, and national committees to write curriculum and is currently working with the Georgia Department of Education to revise the end-of-course test for economics.

Comments:
"Economics has been called 'the dismal science' and there's a reason for that. Most of us go to college and - and we just have someone stand up and talk to us about it. But I think students, especially in high school - and even in elementary and middle school - if they can have some hands-on experience it just makes a world of difference. I don't want students to be afraid of economics. I want them to embrace it because it will make them better citizens, better consumers, better producers, and that's going to make our economy better for all of us."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Supply and Demand (Workshop 2)
Market Simulation (Workshop 2)

 
Richard (Dick) Rankin
Richard (Dick) Rankin
12th Grade Economics
Iolani High School
Honolulu, Hawaii
Years teaching in all: 16
Years teaching this course: 8
Number of students in your class: 16

Colonel Dick Rankin was a career military officer. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he taught economics and was the course director for sophomore economics at West Point. After he retired from the service he began teaching at Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has coached a number of award-winning student economics teams, including an Economics Challenge National final-four team, and three Western Region Championship teams. Rankin has been the recipient of many awards, including: U. S. Military Academy Department of Social Science Teacher of the Year, 1983; Hawaii State Economics Teacher of the Year 2000; Western Region Economics Teacher of the Year 2001; National Economics Teacher of the Year 2001.

Comments:
"I think economics is an extremely important subject. It's a life-long skill that should be learned sooner rather than later. It is critical to get a handle on what makes our economy tick early on in your life and to understand the importance of decision-making. After all, economics really is about decision-making. Every decision you make doesn't just have benefits. It has costs as well. And to weigh the costs and benefits - to think critically about those decisions - is going to make a person make the right decisions. I think it's important to know economics on a personal level. I think to be an informed voter economics is extremely important."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Shifts in Supply and Demand (Workshop 2)

 
Steve Reich
Steve Reich
12th Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies
Valhalla High School
Valhalla, New York

Years teaching in all: 18
Years teaching this course: 17
Number of students in your class: 14

Steve Reich is an experienced teacher, with over 17 years presenting economics and personal finance. While he had some minimal college course work in economics, he, like many teachers, had to learn on the job.

Comments:
"When I first started teaching economics I had only taken one class in economics and I was basically reading the textbook and trying to figure out what it was I was going to teach the next day. I was just out of college and I think they were looking for a large male who was also schooled in football. I was a social studies teacher. I had a history and an English degree. Economics was the job and they said, "can you teach it?" And I said, "absolutely," and went right to it and did it."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Incentives (Workshop 1)
Incentives and Public Policy (Workshop 3)

 
Eliot Scher
Eliot Scher
9-12th Grade Economics; Honors; NY Regents
Department of Social Studies
White Plains High School
White Plains, New York
Years teaching in all: 32
Years teaching this course: 22
Number of students in your class: 18-30

Eliot Scher has been teaching economics for over 20 years, and like many of the other exceptional teachers we see in this series, his economics career began almost by accident.

Comments:
"It was 1980 and we wanted to implement an economics program. Our department chairperson came to us and said, 'who wants to teach economics,' and nobody knew anything about economics. They offered us some money for writing the curriculum and here I was, I was a young father needed a couple of bucks and so I said to him, 'hey, I'll write the curriculum.' And we sat down (it was one other person and myself) to write the curriculum and we had no idea where to begin. We looked at the State of Oregon's economics curriculum, and we said, 'well, this looks pretty darn good. We can't really find any areas to improve upon.' So we said, 'we found this great curriculum out in Oregon and we think it looks pretty good,' and we implemented the Oregon economics program and it stuck."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Stock Market (Workshop 4)
Inflation (Workshop 6)
Open Market Operations (Workshop 7)
Fed Challenge Team (Workshop 7)

 
Elaine Schwartz
Elaine Schwartz
12th Grade AP Economics
Department of History
Kent Place School
Summit, New Jersey
Years teaching in all: 35
Years teaching this course: 24
Number of students in your class: 18

Elaine Schwartz teaches at a private girls' school in Summit, New Jersey, that was founded over 100 years ago. Currently, her economics class, which is an elective, is composed 18 seniors. She is also the author of two economics textbooks.

Comments:
"I perceive economics to provide a fundamental outlook for all of us in our personal lives, at work and as voters. And with that in mind - with the idea that decisions always involve tradeoffs, that people respond to incentives, that people go and they trade - they buy when they think they're going to get individual gain. All of these basic ideas are at the heart of what thinking economically is about. I perceive economics as a critical, critical area for students to learn about when they're at the high school level."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Opportunity Cost (Workshop 1)
Trade-offs (Workshop 1)
Protectionism (Workshop 5)

 
Gregory M. Smith
Gregory M. Smith
12th Grade Economics
Department of Social Studies
Hastings High School
Hastings on Hudson, New York
Years teaching in all: 3
Years teaching this course: 2
Number of students in your class: 7

Greg Smith is a social studies teacher and has a Master's degree in American history. At Hastings-on-Hudson High School he teaches economics, which is a curriculum requirement, to mainstream students, as well as to at-risk students, like the class shown in this workshop series.

Comments:
"When we start the class I'm getting some of the basic economic principles down, so they have that as a core foundation - a key vocabulary for them - for them to go with. The responses in the beginning are mixed. Some of them take an interest to it. Others think it's boring. But I noticed as the class progresses they seem to take more of a stock in what they do and they become more interested in what we're doing in class. As the year progresses they start to see the relevance. It's not something that I can teach in one forty minute class or one eighty minute class to show them the relevance. It's something that I have to build upon, with the hope that by the end of the semester they come to see that."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Monetary Policy (Workshop 7)

 
Anna R. Vanlandingham
Anna R. Vanlandingham
12th Grade AP Economics
Department of Social Studies - Dept. Chair
Lake Mary High School
Lake Mary, Florida
Years teaching in all: 22
Years teaching this course: 16
Number of students in your class: 28

Anna Vanlandingham taught in Mississippi and now in Florida. Like many other experienced teachers, she was recruited to teach economics. Her school needed an assistant basketball coach and economics teacher and she accepted. Over twenty years later, she is one of Florida's most experienced high school economics teachers. Her awards include: the 2001 Regional NASDAQ Economics Educator of the Year; Florida Council on Economic Education Economics Educator of the Year, 2002; and the 2001 Florida Junior Achievement Economics Educator of the Year.

Comments:
"When a new teacher is starting out with hands-on activities it can be difficult. One of the first things that you have to accept with hands-on is you don't have complete control of your classroom. Most beginning teachers are not equipped for that. When you're a new teacher you're not real confident so it makes you want to be more in control of everything. Another thing is you have to have confidence in yourself and listen to the students if you really want to make it interesting and make it good. Because I found that when I first started doing some of these things that my students had a lot of good suggestions, which improved my program. That confidence takes a couple of years of teaching to develop."

Classes presented in The Economics Classroom:
Gross Domestic Product (Workshop 6)




 

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