This post is sponsored by The Council for Economic Education.

The latest PISA results painted a bleak picture about what young people know about money. Financial literacy expert Annamaria Lusardi talks about what these findings mean for our young people and society at large, and what we need to do now to change.

America’s youth face a number of challenging financial decisions as they head into adulthood — from opening their first checking account to buying a car to financing their college education. The choices they make will have a profound impact on their long-term future.

But do these millennials have the financial skills needed to make these types of complex decisions? According to data from the 2012 PISA financial literacy assessment, the answer is no.

“Many young Americans lack the basic skills to manage money,” said Annamaria Lusardi, academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at George Washington University. (read more…)

social networkIt is clear that education is going through an evolution/revolution due to technology and open sourcing. Our students have opportunities to do, make and discover things that we couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago. For some educators, though, this shift can be felt most keenly in the realm of sharing and consuming knowledge and resources online.

Before, many teachers had to rely solely on their administration for updates on professional development opportunities, and sharing was limited to colleagues at a staff meeting or at an occasional conference. Now, sharing is ever-present and democratized, since educators can easily build personal learning networks on forums like Twitter. To share knowledge online, an educator doesn’t need anything more than ideas and a desire to share. The voices of the people in the classrooms are being heard as much as the voices of the administration — this results in some significant, if subtle, changes in educational discourse. (read more…)

Cute Blue Bird CharacterConversations inside and outside of the kindergarten class begin on the first day through the use of Twitter. Twitter has been a way for me to model how to have conversations outside of my classroom. It also has helped me establish an online presence with my students that is kind and responsible. This is the beginning of their digital journey as learners, and I want to model how to use it in meaningful, safe ways.

What Twitter offers:

  1. Students have an opportunity to become aware of a larger audience and experience the importance of a variety of perspectives.
  2. Students begin to explore how having an audience can form connections, inspire and offer opportunities to be mentors.
  3. Students make connections with the idea that conversations can look and sound different depending on the tools used and where you are.
  4. Educators have an opportunity to model how this synchronous tool can be used in a safe, kind and responsible way to enhance learning.
  5. (read more…)

textbooksAs someone who worked in education for several years, I can tell you that one of my biggest obstacles was time — as in, there was never enough of it. But rather than turn my teaching job into a 24/7 endeavor, I learned to work smarter. I analyzed every moment of my work day, and identified ways I could get things done faster while improving efficiency. Here are 10 things I learned along the way. Hopefully you can benefit from them and improve your productivity as an educator.

1. Keep a clean desk
If your desk is filled with old papers, office memos and general clutter, it’s time to get organized. The surface of your desk should only house the items you’re currently working on. Everything else should be filed, trashed or stored away.

2. Sell or donate old books
A bookshelf filled with old reference materials makes it more difficult for you to find the books you actually need. (read more…)

classroom 2One of the time-honored practices of school leaders is to visit classrooms and conduct teacher observations. These visits are intended to provide teachers with constructive feedback about their performance and help them enhance their professional practice. They also help principals keep tabs on instruction and evaluate teacher performance. While the goals behind teacher observations are laudable, the process sometimes does not follow the script and can even lead to frustration and resentment for both parties.

For teachers, observations can oftentimes be disruptive. Even when notified previously, the presence of one or more administrators can interrupt the flow of class and be unnerving. Many worry about what is going through the mind of their supervisor and fret over the post-observation feedback that they will receive — if they get any at all.

Many principals struggle with the process as well. When should they observe and how often? How much time should they be spending in the classroom? (read more…)