Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summertime Curriculum Development

One of my favorite parts about summertime is spending time developing work for the courses I will teach in the year ahead. Since I have just finished writing 29 pages worth of competencies and corresponding scales, I can finally move on to more fun work. 

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to design textbooks. I even have a collection of texts, including some in foreign languages! That's the beautiful part about math after all, it is the same in all languages :) So, you knowI was ecstatic when I got my letter in the mail this past week from Michigan State University, stating my acceptance into the Masters of Arts in Teaching and Curriculum! Look out world, one day, your students will be learning mathematics from a program and curriculum I created! 

Since my excitement is uncontrollable, I decided to start working on developing my own Personal Finance curriculum. Now, I have zero experience teaching PF, so this is going to be incredibly challenging. However, I have an entire collection of textbooks covering consumers mathematics and personal finance, so I am sure I will be able to use those references to create an ultimate PBL experience for learning and implementing personal finance into the lives of 150 seniors this upcoming year. 

So excitement aside, where do I begin? 

I started with the Jump$tart math personal finance standards and wrote 5 corresponding competencies to align with my 0.5 credit course. My competencies for personal finance are:

Competency 1: Financial Responsibility and Decision Making
Students will apply reliable information and systematic decision making to personal financial decisions.

Competency 2: Income and Careers, and Risk Management
Students will use a career plan to develop personal income potential, and use appropriate cost-effective risk management strategies.

Competency 3: Planning and Money Management
Students will organize and plan personal finances, and use a budget to manage cash flow.

Competency 4: Credit and Debt
Students will maintain creditworthiness, borrow at favored terms, and manage debt.

Competency 5: Saving and Investing
Students will implement a diversified investment strategy that is compatible with personal goals. 

Now that those are set, I am scouring the materials that I have to see what types of formative products I am looking for my students to create. My overall summative product will be a financial portfolio students create using GoogleDocs spreadsheets and likely GoogleSites. Students will wrap up this class with a sit down presentation with their advisor and a financial expert to go over their plan for financial success. 

Here is a sneak peak into the items I am using/creating to help me with the whole process:

Competency criteria aligned with Jump$tart, some formative assessments  taken from

Quick Guide to help advisors see how long many days they need to dedicate each week, along with which competency they are collecting information on. 

More explicit planning for teachers, including Essential Questions and assessments. 

One of the frustrations in planning this curriculum is that I am actually not implementing the curriculum. I do not have a senior advisory this year, so I am designing this curriculum to be followed and implemented by other teachers--most of whom have a limited background in mathematics. This is great, in that it is foreshadowing of when I design curriculums in the future; but difficult as I won't get the day to day feedback from students to be able to make adjustments as needed. So, I've got to really be on my game and get this set in stone as soon as possible, so that the teachers can go over it and give me feedback on their abilities to implement it come December. That's my goal for the next two weeks: complete this curriculum, including a pacing and instructors guide, and create a mock up of a student's final portfolio. 

After that, I've got 4 more classes to design: geometry, trig & pre-calc, math applications and game theory! If I truly dedicate 2 weeks to each of them, that takes me right up to the first week of school. I is amazing how quickly the summer goes! 

Wish me luck!