Dec 27, 2009

Closed For The Holidays

Time out for some much needed R&R.
If you need me I will be here... doing this.
Happy holidays to one and all.

Dec 19, 2009

The 12 Days of Econ

On the first day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
A plan to end poverty.

On the second day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the third day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the fourth day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the fifth day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the sixth day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the seventh day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the eight day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Eight World Bank workers,
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the ninth day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Nine NAFTA haters,
Eight World Bank workers,
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the tenth day of Econ Bernake gave to me
Ten tax incentives,
Nine NAFTA haters,
Eight World Bank workers,
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the eleventh day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Eleven business cycles,
Ten tax incentives,
Nine NAFTA haters,
Eight World Bank workers,
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

On the twelfth day of Econ Bernanke gave to me
Twelve Wealth of Nations,
Eleven business cycles,
Ten tax incentives,
Nine NAFTA haters,
Eight World Bank workers,
Seven unions striking,
Six transfer payments,
Four final goods,
Three price floors,
Two Keynesians
and a plan to end poverty.

(A Mike Raymer Original)

Dec 18, 2009

Financial Football

Should I play the Bills against the Saints or maybe the Raiders against the New York "football" Giants? Hmmm.

Thank you very much Mr. New York State Comptroller guy for creating this cool online game that brings together NFL football and personal finance education! Students can play in small groups or you can pit one side of the room vs. the other. Return kicks, sack the quarterback, take it in for the win...all while learning more about financial education. Cool stuff indeed.

Dec 17, 2009

Money, Money, Money, Money.........Money

Go ahead and ask your students on the first day of class what economics is all about and I bet most of them will say, "Money." Be ready for their looks of despair when you tell them economics is actually all about scarcity and how to deal with the fact that everyone wants an unlimited amount of scarce resources.

Anyway, money is exciting to students as each one of them is going to have tons of it when they get older (at least that is what they always say) and it allows them to purchase the latest and greatest things out there on the market.

When you get around to talking about money..."Explain the role of money as a medium of exchange and how if facilitates exchange", be sure to share this site with your students. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing does a clutch job showing all of the cool safety features of our paper currency. I always found that my students were very interested in learning more about money after seeing the cool watermarks and security threads that are found in our paper currency. They also were surprised to learn that the Secret Service was in charge of combating the counterfeiting of US dollars.

Dec 16, 2009

The Shock Therapist

Yegor Gaidar passed away today. For all of you Commanding Heights fans out there you may remember him as one of the main architects of Russia's transition from a command to a market economy in the early 1990's. Gaidar helped institute the 'shock therapy' plan that radically overhauled the Russian economy while devaluing the savings of a whole bunch of people in that country. Gaidar was only 53 years old.

Dec 15, 2009

Taste The Corny Goodness

Trying to come up with a good example from out there in the "real world' to get your students thinking about standards SSEF5 or SSEMI4? Of course you are. Seems our good friends at Monsanto are getting a little publicity that they would probably rather avoid. Go ahead and give it a look and then share this story with your students.

I'm willing to bet the ranch that just about every single student in your class eats/drinks corn products at least once each day in every single school cafeteria across this diverse state of ours.

Bon appetit!

Dec 13, 2009

Dec 11, 2009

Dec 9, 2009

Dear Santa,

The only thing I want for Christmas this year is a pair of NOKO jeans. Yes, I know they are made in North Korea....and that is exactly why I want them. Because they were made in NORTH friggin KOREA! Any country that thinks THIS is fashionable is tops in my book.

I just wonder if they make them in my size?

SMG Fall 2009 Champs

Congratulations to coach Jay Watts and his team from The Westminster Schools for winning the Fall 2009 Stock Market Game. The team finished with a total equity of $204,783.58.

Dec 8, 2009

Our Country

This is one of the more memorable things I have looked at in awhile. Look at Michigan and California and Oregon. Incredible.

Dec 6, 2009


Move over Segway, the YikeBike is the next big thing to hit the roads. TIME magazine just named it one of the best new inventions of 2009. For some reason I just can't see myself rolling down I-85 on one of these things but I wouldn't mind cruising the cart paths of Peachtree City on a sunny afternoon.

Dec 4, 2009

10% With A Bullet

Look out 9%, the unemployment rate is coming for you!

Some "good" economic news released earlier today. Only 11,000 jobs were lost in the month of November and the job loss figures for October and September were revised to show fewer jobs were shed than originally thought.

Now we just need firms to start hiring again.

Nov 30, 2009

SMG Leaders 9th Week

With only a few days to go the standings look like this:

1. Mountain View High...$224,973
2. Westminster...$204,510
3. Mountain View High...$171,730
4. Central High...$158,887
5. Durham Middle...$144,143

"Worlds of Money Wasted"

Happy Cyber Monday everyone! Did you have an amazing Black Friday? Anyone else sick and tired of hearing about Christmas...Hanukkah...Kwanzaa shopping already? I know I am. Can we just not talk about how much money we are going to spend on holiday gifts this year? According to this George Will article the people you buy gifts for are not going to be happy anyway so just go blow that money on yourself for a change.

Nov 27, 2009

Book Your Dates

A good number of our winter 2010/spring 2010 workshops have been posted online and you can find them right here.

Once again we have workshops scheduled that fit the needs of teachers K-12. I hope to see you at a few of these offerings.

Nov 25, 2009

O Pumpkin Pie, Where Art Thou?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

If you come up blank in the pumpkin pie department this year you can find out why right

How on earth did we as a nation let Nestle gain control of 85% of the pumpkin pie goo supply? We need to investigate this at once!

Nov 24, 2009

A Good Read (Japan Version)

I just finished this incredible book about the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. As some of you may recall I spent ten days in Tokyo this summer as a fellow on the Keizai Koho Teacher Fellowship trip and Tsukiji was high on my list of incredible things I visited while in Japan.

Author/anthropologist Theodore Bestor gets to the heart of the world's largest fish market while explaining how this place functions. Bestor examines the complex organization of the market and the evolution of trading practices in and around Tsukiji. He also delves into globalization and the shrinking of the world.

Did you know that Tsukiji does about $6 billion in business each year? Did you know a tuna caught off the coast of Maine on a Monday can be auctioned at Tsukiji on Wednesday of that same week after being flown to Japan in a specially designed frozen tuna container? Did you know that the sea urchin you ate in the Ginza district of Tokyo came all the way from Nova Scotia?

Give it a look. I guarantee that you will never look at sushi, or markets, the same way again.


Nov 23, 2009

The Times They Are A Changing

Click on image to expand.

SMG Leaders 8th Week

$773.00. That is all that is now separating the top two teams in the fall 2009 Stock Market Game after a week of BIG changes.

1st place- Mountain View High, $205,262
2nd place- Westminster, $204,489
3rd place- Mountain View High, $169,215
4th place- Parkview High, $146,666
5th place- Mount Zion High of Carrollton, $140,606

This is really going to be close.

Nov 20, 2009

Weekend Reading (Movie Edition)

Looking for something to watch over Thanksgiving break? Have I got just the movie for you. "The Lives of Others" is hands down my favorite movie of all time. The term "masterpiece" gets thrown around in movie circles about as much as a beach ball at a Dave Matthews concert but I think it is a fitting description of this movie.

With so much talk these days about Socialist this and Socialism that, I believe "The Lives of Others" goes a long way in explaining why communist states fail in the end. Ultimately the people, the average citizens just trying to survive and prosper, see through it all. In the end human kindness and the desire to be free win out over the system and the system collapses like the Soviet Union did in 1991.

"Would you like this gift wrapped?, it's for me."

Nov 19, 2009

The Sign

If this isn't a sign that the world is about to end I
don't know what is.

Nov 18, 2009

Wanna Buy A Lesson Plan?

Have you ever paid $$$ for a lesson plan? I never did. Thanks to my good friend the World Wide Web I could search and search and eventually something good would come up. I also had the best resource ever for the teaching of economics, I did not pay cash for the thing but I did have to give up one day of my life to get it. Turns out that there are a number of teachers out there that do sell lesson plans. I say, good for them!

SMG Leaders 7th Week

Westminster is still out front but their lead is shrinking. Now sitting at $189,299.61, they are a mere $18,914.61 in front of the second place team from Mountain View High. Rounding out the top five are a second team from Mountain View, a team from Hillgrove High and a team from Parkview High.

This is going to be close.

Nov 16, 2009

The Market Doing Its Thing

Read this one over morning breakfast folks.
I guess it's proof that some government programs can work.
It does say they are having a record year.

Nov 14, 2009

Program of Excellence

The Georgia Council on Economic Education was just awarded the "2009 Program of Excellence" at this year's GCSS Annual Conference. Congratulations to Dr. David Martin, the staff and all of GCEE's generous supporters who help make this all work.

We are here to serve.

Nov 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day.
Happy Remembrance Day.
Happy Armistice Day.

...from everyone at the Georgia Council.

Grades For Sale

This certainly is an interesting way to raise money for your local school. While in the classroom I often thought of developing a lesson that would allow students to sell points to other students. Say you are sitting on a 98 average and the person next to you has a 68. How much would that person be willing to pay you for those two desperately needed points?

My plan never got off the ground as I'm sure I would have been visiting the principal within seconds of actually doing this, but you sure could teach a lot of econ by doing this.

Nov 10, 2009

Maybe 10 Maybe 17

While out and about doing workshops, the conversation inevitably turns to the current state of the economy (not surprising since they are econ workshops). At some point someone will ask about the unemployment rate, maybe want to know what the current rate is or when the number will start to fall (If I could predict this accurately I would be living here of course). From here things always play out the same way. Somebody will say, "The unemployment rate is currently whatever.whatever%" at which point someone else will say, "Yeah, but that does not tell the whole picture because a lot of people aren't counted".

Well, it turns out the current unemployment rate is 10.2% and when you factor in all of those folks out there that are "not counted" you get a number closer to 17.5%. This my friends is not good. More than one out of ten people in the work force is unemployed.

Look here for a very interesting interactive look at the unemployment numbers. Look here for a good look at the disparity in unemployment rates between young and old, male and female, black and white and Hispanic. Look here if you want to see the unemployment numbers by state. Look here if you are freaked out about the economy and you just want to change the subject to something happy.

Stay classy.

SMG Leaders 6th Week

1st place- Westminster with a total of $219,767.41.
2nd place- Mountain View High, $171,285.34
3rd place- Mountain View High, $167,893.45
4th place- Parkview High, $149,284.56
5th place Hillgrove High, $141,360.85

Nov 9, 2009


"It was twenty years ago today, Erich Honecker was told to go away..."

Looking back on the fall of the Berlin wall I sometimes still cannot believe that it even happened. From 1961 until 1989 the wall split not just Berlin but the entire world. For so many years it was such a stark reminder of the chasm between communist and democratic countries and then just like that it was gone. Whenever I think of the wall, and Soviet bloc communism, I think, what a waste. So many lives destroyed, and for what?

Two summers ago I was fortunate enough to visit Berlin, easily my favorite city on the planet. In less than twenty years Berlin has managed to go from this to this. Seeing the incredible transformation simply reinforced everything I believe about humans. At the end of the day everyone just wants to be free. Wir sind Ein Volk.

Happy 20th Berlin. You look great.

Nov 6, 2009

Wekend Reading

Somebody has a beef with Gross Domestic Product.
But what would we teach the children if we ditch GDP?

Nov 4, 2009

Sick of Teaching?

If so you could always apply here. You of course would no longer get 16 weeks off each year but you would probably not have to coach a darn thing and you would get a sweet discount on one of these. I remember doing factory work back before I went into teaching. Sure, the hours were long and incredibly monotonous, but I did meet a lot of interesting characters. These guys taught me such important life skills as how to pick a coin up off the floor with the fork of a forklift and how to make a facial scar obtained at work look worse before your workers comp hearing.

Good times.

Nov 3, 2009

A Good Read (Melvin Version)

A colleague and I were talking shop one day last spring, like econ ed nerds do on occasion, putting together a wish list for our school’s media center. Discussing books on economic issues that were beneficial either to ourselves or potentially to our students; he mentioned that at one time he required his AP kids to read Todd Buchholz’s New Ideas From Dead Economists.

Over the summer I got around to reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a nice, easy-to-read overview on the growth of economic thought over the past 250 years. Short, witty bios of the economic giants accompany refreshing explanations and applications of their ideas. It is certainly not a groundbreaking work of new scholarship, but it is a pleasant way to gain perhaps a slightly different perspective on the concepts we teach everyday.
-Michael Melvin

Nov 2, 2009

Props To You Ford Motor Co.

This just might be the only good news that has come out of Detroit in a longgggg time. Their football team still completely stinks but the Ford family has a little something to smile about today.

SMG Leaders 5th Week

A team from Westminster in Atlanta is still comfortably out front after the end of week five. With a portfolio of $229,055.25, they are a cool $76,892.90 ahead of the 2nd place team from Hillgrove High in Cobb County. Rounding out the top five are teams from Parkview High and two teams from Mountain View High in Gwinnett.

Oct 31, 2009

Oct 28, 2009

Is A Card Cash?

That is a really good question. Econblog tip of the hat to Paulding County correspondant Bruce Jones for sending this article along to the global headquarters.

Does this person have something here or are they just trying to stir up stuff just to stir up stuff?


Oct 27, 2009

A Good Read (From the AP classroom)

I highly recommend this read by the political commentator Kevin Phillips. The following quote from Amazon summarizes the thrust of this work:

"In Bad Money, Phillips describes the consequences of our misguided economic policies, our mounting debt, our collapsing housing market, our threatened oil, and the end of American domination of world markets. America’s current challenges (and failures) run striking parallels to the decline of previous leading world economic powers—especially the Dutch and British. Global overreach, worn-out politics, excessive debt, and exhausted energy regimes are all chilling signals that the United States is crumbling as the world superpower.

“Bad money” refers to a new phenomenon in wayward megafinance—the emergence of a U.S. economy that is globally dependent and dominated by hubris-driven financial services. Also “bad” are the risk miscalculations and strategic abuses of new multitrillion-dollar products such as asset-backed securities and the lure of buccaneering vehicles like hedge funds. Finally, the U.S. dollar has been turned into bad money as it has weakened and become vulnerable to the world’s other currencies. In all these ways, “bad” finance has failed the American people and pointed U.S. capitalism toward a global crisis."

I found the chapters on the peak oil arguments and securitization to be chilling. You will want to share many of his insights with your students. I have my students read Freakonomics for their summer reading because they all read it cover to cover and the discussion generated is electrifying. ( I believe that I will be adding Super Freakonomics as assigned reading.) However, Bad Money could be a fitting addition to any student reading list.
-Amy Hennessy

SMG Leaders

At the end of the 4th week of competition, a team from Westminter is your leader in the fall 2009 Stock Market Game. With a total equity of $206,309.31, they lead the second place team from Mountain View High in Gwinnett by a total of $45,983.05. Hats off to all of the teams out there that are making bank!

Oct 20, 2009

Beware the Elephant

Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have written a follow up to their hugely popular bestseller. Their new book, Super Freakonomics, (will the follow up to this be called Super Duper Freakonomics Supreme?) looks at the usual assortment of stuff... eating kangaroo's, pimping, terrorists and selfishness. They also write about what we should worry about. Once again, economics has the answers.

Oct 17, 2009

Weekend Reading

And to think I was just complaining about having to drive in a little traffic to get my goods and services. Seems silly after reading about this situation. Gives new meaning to the term "underground economy" doesn't it?

Oct 15, 2009

The Odds

The odds an employed person 16 or older in Georgia is a post-secondary economics teacher are 1 in 11,970. The odds of you caring about these odds are about 1 in 6.

The odds of you liking this website are 1 in 1.

A Good Read

Read any good econ related books lately? Would you like to share these books with the rest of us? I am kicking off a new feature of the Econblog- "A Good Read". My hope is to have a bunch of teachers out there send in brief posts about their favorite econ related book(s). Could be this, or maybe this, or how about this? You decide.

Just let me know what your favorite read is, and why, and I will post it on the blog.

So let me begin with my selection- "Naked Economics" by Charles Wheelan. What I like most about this book is Wheelan's ability to put economic concepts (mostly macro) and theories into plain English. I routinely assigned this book as summer reading for my AP students and they did not hate it. What better endorsement can you get than that? 17 and 18 year old students did not hate it!

Money quote of the book, ""Economics should not be accessible only to the experts. The ideas are too important and too interesting." Yes and yes to that Mr. Wheelon.

Oct 14, 2009

How Can A Wing Be Boneless?

For those of you that have been paying attention to this blog since its inception, you may recall a post I put up about the price of chicken wings leading up to the Super Bowl. Well, chicken wing prices have continued to increase since that time. Amazingly enough, chicken wing prices per pound are now higher than chicken breast prices per pound. The once lowly Buffalo wing is now fetching some pretty high prices.

What are the chances that every single one of your students has eaten Buffalo wings? Pretty good right? Use this to your advantage. Give your students this article and have them pick out all of the economic concepts they can find. I bet they will come up with an extensive list that can be linked directly to the econ standards. SSEF1, SSEF2, SSEF3, SSEMI2, SSEMI3 quickly come to mind.

Econ really is all around us. Oh, and I think it's a good thing that wings originated in Buffalo and not Walla Walla or Sheboygan. Walla Walla wings just doesn't sound right.

Oct 13, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Time to celebrate!

My four year old son just received his first credit card application in the mail today. I bet he could do some seriously massive damage in the Batman aisle of Toys-R-Us with that plastic beauty.

From the AP classroom

Why can't the world's food supply be grown out of this flower pot? My students have tons of fun answering that question and applying it to the law of diminishing marginal returns. Lessons 25 and 26 in the Morton workbook will help reinforce this concept.

It is critically important for students to understand the relationship between marginal product and average product as well as the mirror image of those curves with the marginal cost and average variable cost curves! The calculus students normally have an easier time of understanding the derivative nature of marginal product, cost, and revenue yet all students must have this concept mastered in order to fully analyze the theory of the firm models.

Also, students will need to understand that marginal revenue is the slope of the total revenue curve and that the same applies with the marginal cost and total cost and total variable cost curves. I always use examples about test averages and batting averages to explain the relationship between marginal and average calculations. These lessons are some of my favorite ones to teach. Have fun with these curves!

Oct 10, 2009

Technology 2.0

For me the 2009 Annual Meeting was all about learning how to effectively use technology in new and exciting ways to teach and learn economics.

In the last three days I have learned a great deal about podcasting, youtubing, teachertubing, RSS feeding and even a little bit about something called Doodle. In addition, I was given a sneak peak at a really cool online simulation/video game that is built around personal finance. (I will be posting more about this in the coming months)

There are so many amazing technologies out there that are really changing the way teachers teach, and students learn, economics. Wayyyyy back in 1984, when I was a clueless high school senior, I would have never dreamed of having the ability to listen to an interactive teacher lesson on my own time or the ability to contribute to a student built class wiki.

My head is spinning.

D.C. 2009

This is one good looking city.

Oct 9, 2009

This may be a website that interests you when you are thinking about teaching your personal finance standards. Plenty of really helpful information at the click of a mouse. Some of the cool visual "hook" stuff include a piece on what a trillion dollars looks like and the worst eight celebrity financial mistakes.