Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finance 101 For Title 1 Part 2

Now, here are some solutions to this problem.

The first thing I do when I'm teaching kids about money is to start with the big picture. For that, I use a powerpoint I made, with the permission of the school Principal at that time, talking about the value of an education. I use that as a jumping point to talk about what kind money they can make based on the level of education.

Since many of these kids don't really understand that kind of money just yet, I used an excel spreadsheet to break down the national average amounts of earnings per level of degree and after taxes and using the budget I show the kids, give the amount per month that each earning level has for housing. I plugged each earning level for the housing budget into the powerpoint and included pictures of what kind of homes (at 2007 values) they could afford based on each earning level. What kind of home can you afford as a high school dropout, versus the home afforded by someone with a professional degree? The more education, the better the houses got. The kids are by this point wanting those nicer homes, so then I tell them that in order to have those nicer homes, they not only need to be making the money, but they need to know how to manage it.

The first part, which is already covered in 2nd and 3rd grades, is the basics of counting the coins and bills. For this we go to these web sites:

Counting Coins

Counting Money

Then we make things get a little harder:

Count The Money

Let's Compare

Counting Money

As you can see, these are some pretty good sites for counting money. But, with the first site, it's no longer being maintained, as the university program that made it is no longer functioning. With the Harcourt site, you may need the password to get into it, which you can't get unless you purchase the Harcourt textbooks. None of this is sponsored by the Dept. of Ed.

The second class period I use a SmartBoard lesson I created to show students how to count change correctly. Have you ever been to a store where someone hands you the change, based upon the calculations of a machine? Have you ever wondered if those calculations are correct? The key to counting change correctly is to start at the amount owed, and then use coins and bills to work your way up to the amount paid. I demonstrate this using fake bills and coins on the SmartBoard lesson. Then I have them spend at least 2 class sessions (30 minutes each) counting up their change on this site:

Change Maker

After they have mastered counting the money, now they are ready to manage the money.

I show them some videos provided by Discovery Education (you have to be an educator to get access to these) on simple and compound interest.

Then I have them go to this site on generating compound interest, so they can see how their money can grow:

Compound Interest Calculator

By this time, they are ready to move on to budgeting. Budgeting is about choices:

Feed The Pig

Going To The Market

Welcome To Fedville

One of the best sites that gives all around guidance for kids is not from the government, it's from a non-profit called TheMint.org.


Once they've completed this series, they can look at the school's Delicious page under finance for more sites that I've found for them:

Laird Leopard Finance

Finance 101 For Title 1

Most educators who work at Title 1 schools - schools educating the poorest among us - know there is a serious lack of education regarding finance.

In the state of Arizona, where I live and work, students learn how to count money in the 2nd and 3rd grades. It's in the Mathematics curriculum. Here's basically what they are learning.

  • The students learn the differences in amounts for coins and bills.
  • The students learn to add coins to the equivalent of amounts or bills ( 4 quarters = 1 dollar)
  • The students learn basic subtraction to determine amount of change.
This is a great start for second and third grade. There are a few problems with this, though.
  1. The students at this rate have never been exposed to decimals, so they don't grasp the math behind the adding and subtracting of coins.
  2. The following grades, where decimals are introduced, money is not specified in the curriculum, so the connections between two decimal numbers (in the hundreths) and money are not made.
  3. Money is not addressed again in the curriculum until high school Economics.
  4. Lower income students have a higher dropout rate by the time they've reached their junior or senior years of high school, many never make it to take the Economics class.
  5. Between Elementary and High School, students are not being taught budgeting and saving their money.
  6. Lower income students do not have a constant exposure to money (if you don't have it, you're not going to learn about it), so they have forgotten a lot of what they learned in 2nd and 3rd grades by the time they are in 5th and 6th grades.
Because of this, the cycle of poverty continues in a family until someone is actually taught about the basics in finance, such as budgeting and saving money.

This last school year, I asked the two 5th grade classes at my school how many had ever heard of a savings account. The result was about 1/2 of the students had heard about it, much less understood that when they save their money in a financial institution, they actually get money back as a reward (interest). About half of all students in this one grade level had never heard of this.

Now, take a look at our financial situation as a nation, and the growing number of people living in poverty. If parents don't understand finance well enough to raise themselves and their families out of poverty, how are the kids going to be able to do it?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Before... And After!

My doctor has put me on a diet, so I've lost a little bit of weight. I felt that as long as so much of my life is changing right now, I'd do a little something with my hair. Most of you know me as the ponytail wonder. No More! I'll post more pictures as I have some done with make up and a nice outfit. Oh, and yes, my lovely locks were donated to Locks of Love to make wigs for cancer patients.


And After!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Senate apologizes for slavery, segregation in U.S.

Senate apologizes for slavery, segregation in U.S.

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Yeah, our U.S. Senate is apologizing for racial segregation, I'm still waiting for them to apologize for financial segregation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For The Girls

I just had a second set of mammograms done. These cause a little bit of concern for me, as when there is a second set requested, it means the radiology doctors found something. I was supposed to have ultrasounds done as well, but it was ruled out when they found the lump disappeared upon the deep compression pictures.

Yes, I said deep compression pictures. For those who have never had to go through the second set before, be thankful. The second set is where a different top plate is used on the machine, and the compression is almost twice of what the normal mammograms call for. By compression, I mean they squeeze tighter.

I'm also thankful, given that I was getting a false positive, that I had the breast MRI's done. This is a new procedure that not all medical insurance will cover, but if you have dense, fibrous breasts (meaning there's a lot of tissue in there), you should get the MRI's. Click here for the Oprah show that talks about breast cancer and the types of screening now available.

There are a few tips I can give you to help you keep from having to have this done, if it's at all possible.

The first is timing. Schedule your initial mammograms the week or two after your menstrual cycle. Just prior and during your menstrual cycle your breasts are more sensitive and that makes the mammograms more painful. Schedule it in the morning, if you can, so that you do not have to go throughout the day with no deodorant on.

The second tip is to shower, not take a bath, but shower just prior to going in. This will make sure you have the least amount of fragrance on your upper body and will help you to be fresh for the testing. When you do shower, bathe from the top down. In other words, wash your hair first. Then wash the upper part (fragrance free), then the bottom part (regular soap). Again, it will keep the fragrance crystals from showing up and giving false positives which can provoke a second set of mammograms. Make sure you scrub not only the front and breasts, but also the sides as part of the imaging is checking the lymph nodes on each side behind the breasts.

The third tip, which has really saved me, is to use a 100% fragrance free facial soap from the waist up. Personally, I use Clinique mild facial soap, but any other will do, as long as it is 100% fragrance free. This not only allows you to wash yourself, but it will eliminate leftover fragrance from soap, deodorant and hair care products.

Here is another, and very crucial, tip for ALL of your breast exams. Get copies of the typed results the lab provides your doctor. You can request them from your doctor (it is your right to have access to all of your medical data from your doctor). This way you can read what was found for yourself. Keep the records in a file folder, along with a 1 - 2 page medical information sheet that you should have typed up about yourself, listing allergies (foods and medications), medications you take - the strength and dosages, and listing your vaccinations and major medical issues (broken bones, stitches, chicken pox, etc.). This should also be kept in your medical file folder.

This is why I am so picky about this:

In 2003 I had my first mammograms. I was 35 years old, which is when they start you on them unless there is a history in your family. When the first set of mammograms were done, there was a lump found in each breast. I went in for a second set, plus the ultra sounds. It still was unclear what the lumps were, so stereotactic biopsies (needle biopsies) were done on each breast. The left breast was cleared as benign, but the right breast still was undetermined, so excision was ordered. By this time I had a fantastic breast surgeon referred to me, and she was on top of everything. To have an excision biopsy is a lumpectomy. Yes, I went under the knife. I'll have to post later what they do when this is happening, it's actually pretty interesting. It's called a lumpectomy if the lump is malignant, if it's benign it's called an excision biopsy.

When I went in for the primary part of the surgery, however, I found that they had listed the wrong breast for the surgery. There was some confusion from the lab reports as to which breast needed the excision. Because I had the photocopies of all of the breast exams done, I was able to pull them out and show them, on the last exam, which was the correct breast. A call was made to the surgeon as a new prescription form would be needed, and I was able, through my own record keeping, to avoid a medical mistake.

I'm very grateful for the technology that allows for this, and I'm grateful for the knowledge I have to make these things go a little better when I have my breasts checked every year.

I hope everyone out there will also do the same.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Book I Just Finished...

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Have you ever read this book? If you are a parent of school age children or a teacher, you should.

This covers the story of success from two different points of view. The first covers those who succeeded where they shouldn't have, and how the smartest man in the U.S. would be considered unsuccessful given what he could have done with all of the knowledge he has acquired. The second point of view covers how people can become successful, even after failure, and what it takes to make success happen.

While discussing this he also explains how your birthdate affects your success in various different fields, including whether or not your child stands much of a chance at success in school.

It also talks about some of the logic people have used to explain why some cultures (in this case the Chinese) are better at math than we see in the U.S.

Gladwell also looks into the U.S. educational system to talk about some of the issues that are not being discussed when talking about "reform" in public education.

This is an excellent book to read, I highly recommend it.

What I Did Today

What did I do today?

I called an ailing sister from my Ward.
I emailed a brother from my Stake to get the air fixed in my home.
I called SMIL to get appointments made.
I called the doctor to let them know about the tests at SMIL.
I took another ailing sister from my Ward to have blood work done.
I shopped at Petsmart & Safeway.
I contacted the property mgmt about access to the roof, getting a new pool key and an ach form to have the HOA dues auto deducted from my bank account.
Somewhere around there I ate lunch.
I recorded Oprah's show on getting your sexy mojo back. Sounds good, but I have no idea where to begin or who I would be sexy for.

I still have more to do, but I'm ready for a nap right now!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Truth About Homelessness

If you didn't see the report on CNN, be sure to check out this blog about the difficulties of homeless people trying to get jobs.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Kind of A Tech User Are You?


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My Results:

You are an Digital Collaborator

If you are a Digital Collaborator, you use information technology to work with and share your creations with others. You are enthusiastic about how ICTs help you connect with others and confident in your ability to manage digital devices and information. For you, the digital commons can be a camp, a lab, or a theater group – places to gather with others to develop something new.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Little Bit About Me

I posted this on my new blog for widowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's the closest I've come to publishing an autobiography.

The Widowed Connection

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Are Doing A Great Work

I love my home teachers. This past week Brother and Sister Knibbs came over and gave a wonderful lesson from the Priesthood session of General Conference. It's become one of my favorites from the Conference sessions.

We Are Doing A Great Work And Cannot Come Down by President Uchtdorf

Goodbye GM

I've posted my ideas for fixing various public works or services around the country, here is Michael Moore's ideas on fixing GM, and I think they're pretty good:

1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.

We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.

The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.

President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.

2. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.

3. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.

4. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.

5. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.

6. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).

7. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.

8. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.

9. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.

Source: www.michaelmoore.com