Saturday, December 17, 2005

An Evening at the Fed (A must for Econ teachers)

ARG!!!!!! Busy can't define the state I have been in recently! I'm very sorry that the blogging has been down, but the school situation hasn't allowed me to keep up. Hopefully, these next posts will explain why my blogging has not been existent. Also, apologies to the Education Wonks for not linking the Education Carnival this week. You do too much work to not be recognized!

According to all my wife's teacher peers, the fact that we both teach the same subject (Government and Economics) is very cute. The whole "awwwwwwwwwwww" thing was in full effect on Wednesday, when my wife and I decided to attend "An Evening at the Fed", at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Building. The plan was to leave Ukiah at around 2 p.m. (Wednesdays are short for me), attend the conference, and make it back by 9 p.m. for good sleep, since we had to teach the next day.

"Evening" is a series of workshops aimed trying to more successfully connect high school educators with the Federal Reserve, and do more to get students to successfully understand the California Economics Standards. The idea is great, and if the implementation of the program is anything like the first workshop, then Economics teachers will find a very valuable resource at the Federal Reserve.

This workshop was to introduce a video entitled "Open and Operating: The FED responds to September 11", and the curriculum that goes with it. Simply put, the 16 minute video uses 9/11 to describe how the Federal Reserve system works, and the importance of "liquidity" to the overall economy. The video is not long enough to get boring, but solid enough to really explain the main jobs of the FED. It is also not a dumbed down version that kills Advanced Placement level students. You might have to do some serious prepping for lower level kids, but with some explanation of the tasks of the Federal Reserve, many "Intro" level students should come out on good terms with the video. On top the video, a curriculum guide is included that does an excellent job using Pre-film activities, during the film questions, and Post-film discussions. Graphic organizers are also included with the packet.

The 90 minute presentation at the FED was well worth the drive. After an introduction from the Joy Hoffman (Vice-Pres of Public Affairs), she took us through the entire video and put the teachers through the Pre-Film activities. The curriculum packet is excellent because it is very detailed, just like a teacher would want it. That might be because Joy worked in education and has helped establish this program with teachers in mind. Also at the workshop were higher ups from the Federal Reserve to discuss how the FED deals in disasters, people from the Economics industry, and college professors that were more than willing to point teachers in the direction of very good material. All in all, a very successful night.

The bottom line is, go the San Francisco's Federal Reserve Education Materials website and order your FREE copy of "Open and Operating". It comes with all the goodies and will be there in a month. If you are killing your students with the same old, boring-as-hell FED videos, pick this one up and go through the curriculum. It will convert you.

After the FED trip, my wife and I went to Union Square and strolled for about 90 minutes, observing the Christmas windows at the institutes of consumerism (otherwise known as department stores). The top three winners are:

#3- Saks Fifth Ave for the elegant women in evening dresses and ice sculpture headdresses. The jewelry was too much, so you get third.

#2- Tiffany's for the mini-window with the Christmas tree, carousel and train. It was beautiful and tasteful, even if the stores prices aren't.

#1- Macy's for the SPCA pet windows. The cats and dogs seemed very happy in their habitat, and the board that showed the number of adoptions seemed very healthy.

The losers, and not just for windows:

#3- Neiman Marcus for the $70 candle and the reaction the man gave when I reminded him that it was wax and a wick.

#2- FAO Schwartz for being closed, as in "the store was empty" kind of closed. If you go out of business, take down the famous sign.

#1- Lush for the $14 for a 1/4 lb soap. Lush is a store that is tended by a group of rocking out college kids (Warrents "Cherry Pie" in the background) that has blocks of soap in mammoth mounds around the tiny store. They smell and look excellent. However, $14.95 for a tiny chip of natural Ivory soap is not cool. Neither is the tiny canister if $18 shaving cream. Hellllllllooooooooooo Costco!

Um, we made it home at around 11 p.m.

And yes, we suffered for it the next day.
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