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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Education
October 25, 2014

Canadian Excellence

A Year in the Life: TEC Blog

April 2010: Weeks 2 and 3 - Ebb and Flow

My focus during week 1 was Language Arts, however, I also introduced integers. My first lesson was fairly creative and I learned a lot about integers in the process. For instance, did you know that integers are everywhere? How wonderful to have a unit where the real-world examples are everywhere around us: on a football field, on a golf leader board, on a scale, in the stock market, on a thermometer, and so on.

When I said "stock market" one student exclaimed, "I hate those people who sit there and read the stock page of the newspaper!" Little did he know.

Given that my first full time job was in Investor Relations, I decided to create a project using the stock market. I'm working at a rural school so I told the students that I think of the stock market a little like I think of farming - if it doesn't run in the family you're not likely to get into it.

I, of course, introduced the assignment with, "I'm going to make you all the millionaires of tomorrow." While that may not be true, I think it's an interesting lesson in financial literacy. It was also a tricky task for me to tackle, too. While I'm familiar with the stock market, I was not familiar with making it "grade-eight-friendly", while also covering the curriculum!

Every day I rushed to school to cut out the stock market page of The Record. Every day the students recorded their chosen company's results and calculated how much they gained or lost that day. At the end of the week they tallied their weekly earnings and analyzed how much they could have made if they sold at the week's high price, or how much they could have lost if they sold at the week's low price. Students were really just starting to "get it" by week's end so we, my associate and I, decided to make it a formative assessment and to try it again the following week for a "real" mark. While it may be more marking for me, the good news is that students will actually comprehend how the stock market works by the end of grade 8! How cool is that?

From a planning and marking perspective, weeks two and three were a little intense. My March break planning had started to wean, and the marking had started to grow. Throw on one last assignment for WLU over Easter weekend, and you've got yourself a busy schedule. But isn't that reality? Teachers do this for a lot longer than six weeks at a time. It also really emphasized the point that good planning is key to keeping one's sanity.

Other keyreflections were:

1. Have an activity planned for after a test. Textbook work does not work.

2. Having work periods during the last two periods of the day is not the best idea. The closer you get to the end of the day, the more structure you need in your lessons.

3. You don't have time to perfectly edit everything you do. Little mistakes will happen. Make it a good thing by giving candy to the first person to notice.

4. Candy is a classroom management technique!

5. Grade 8s are messier than the primary students during lunch.

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