Innovative ideas and programs are what turns information into learning. Meet our Innovative Educators – dedicated professionals who have found new ways to teach practical money skills in the classroom.
Katie RockwellRock Canyon High School
Katie Rockwell has been teaching middle school and high school all across the country for 19 years. Her husband serves in the military, which has helped her be very adaptable to change. She has taught courses in social studies, language arts, computers, world cultures, and home economics. For the last two years, Katie has been teaching Colorado teens the basics of economics and personal finance at Rock Canyon High School.
Colorado has introduced new curriculum standards that call for personal finance to be added to the curriculum. Her department has outlined 10 modules that her students need to complete by graduation, including financial planning, credit and debt, and risk management. Katie has incorporated personal finance lessons into her economics courses as well her freshman advisory course.
Integrating technology into the classroom has made a positive impact engaging with students. "We received a grant for five iPads for my students and they love the mixture of technology and education," she said. "Teachers should not be afraid of technology and should be willing to try new things. Every teacher needs access to iPads."
After downloading the free Practical Money Skills Course Curriculum iBook on iTunes, Katie started using the new lesson plans and activities in her class this year. She also recommends the Jump$tart Coalition's resources to teachers looking for creative ways to teach financial literacy. The introduction of Khan Academy videos to teach important personal finance concepts, quickly and easily, has supplemented her students' take home lessons.
The students in her class are also encouraged to share financial planning apps that they find outside of the classroom, which pushes them to apply their lessons to their personal lives. Some of the more popular components of her curriculum are educational games. Katie says that all of her students look forward to Fridays because they get the opportunity to play Visa's Financial Football and Financial Soccer. She also lets students take home the discs so that they can play the games to prepare for tests.
Katie believes "high school kids learn and are more engaged when they are in small groups and can all be involved in the game, discussion, and lesson." She stresses the importance of technology in helping students apply concepts to their everyday lives. To further her passion, Katie has worked with the Colorado Jump$tart to help suggest topics and seminars for financial literacy teachers in the area and has also participated in workshops offered by Great West.
Her passion for her students is evident. She says quickly and enthusiastically, "I love teaching, I love all students and I work very hard to ensure that the standards are understood and applied so all my students walk away with some sense of financial know how."
Practical Money Skills would like to commend Katie Rockwell for her ongoing efforts and commitment to financial literacy education at Rock Canyon High School.
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