Aug 31, 2009

When Supply Met Demand

Got HOPE? No, not this hope, and not that Hope. I am talking about this HOPE. According to this AJC article dark days are ahead for HOPE scholarship recipients. I smell a good lesson on supply and demand in that article somewhere.

I must admit that I never knew what HOPE actually stood for. Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally? I would have never guessed that. I always thought it stood for "I HOPE I can keep my scholarship for more than one semester."

Your Source for Economic Data

How many of you use GEO Fred (aka- Geographic Federal Reserve Economic DataEconomic) to find economic data for class?

Give it a look if you have never checked it out before. You can really bore down on data specific to the entire country or a specific state. I have often wondered how many thousands of dollars the state of Georgia collects from the issuance of hunting and fishing licenses. GEO FRED has that answer. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Aug 30, 2009

The Day the Music Died (again)

Remember when it was enough to just make really great music?
Seems that is no longer the plan.
How soon before artists make concept albums about the latest brand of toothpaste or the new all bacon family meal down at TJ McFunsters?

Aug 28, 2009

Aug 27, 2009

From the AP Classroom

Imagine teaching a class of forty two 4th grade students a lesson on consumers and producers while speaking only in English. That may not seem strange to you at all. Now focus the frame on the faces of these young learners and you would encounter the deer in the headlights look. Why? The economic concepts are readily comprehensible. The answer lies in the fact that these learners live in South Africa where there are 11 official languages and all learners spend their first four years of school being taught in their native tongues. I witnessed just such a lesson on August 7 at the Siphambano Primary School in the Mtubatuba area of KwaZulu-Natal Province. (The heart of Zulu land.) The teacher, Mr. TE Buthelezi, had prepared an interactive lesson for his Zulu speaking learners (in South Africa students are called learners) as part of the economics based instruction that occurs in all schools grades R-9. (R is the equivalent of our Kindergarten).

My name is Amy Hennessy and I teach the state mandated course in economics as well as AP Micro and AP Macroeconomics at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, Georgia. Thanks to the support and encouragement I received from Mike Raymer, Dr. Glenn Blankenship, and Dr. David Martin at the Georgia Council I applied for and was accepted to participate in this year's Council for Economic Education Study Tour to South Africa. There were 24 U.S. teachers with our four tour leaders as well as six South African educators who spent an amazing ten days together in South Africa observing the multiplier effect of the Cooperative Education Exchange's(CEEP) program called Training of Trainers. This exchange involves select South African teachers being trained to teach economic concepts with Council materials by U.S. professors of economics, like Dr. John Brock of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Once trained these "trainers" then conduct workshops and provide support for their South African counterparts who in turn use these outcomes based lessons with their learners.

I will be sharing my experiences, photos, and videos over the next few posts. Then I will be posting some of my thoughts and tips on teaching both AP Micro and Macroeconomics. I look forward to sharing what has been the highlight of my professional career with all of you. Please feel free to leave comments and any queries you may have.

Aug 26, 2009

Shiny New Debt Clock

Diane Basham of McIntosh High School we salute you! At a workshop yesterday Ms. Basham mentioned THIS amazing debt clock. Wow. I gotta say that this one is the mother of all debt clocks. I have said it before and I will say it again- show this to the kids and they will be instantly hooked, worried, confused, interested, mad and maybe even a little curious about economics.

Aug 24, 2009

From the Classroom Year 2 vol. 1

Two weeks into the school year and I finally have my sea legs under me. This is Mike Melvin and once again I will be contributing some of my classroom experiences to the blog.

I had a great eight week break and I even thought about econ a little bit. The highlight of the summer was my trip to Germany on the Goethe Institut's Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP).

I, along with fifteen other educators from the states, were guests of the Institut in such beautiful places as Berlin, historic Quedlinburg, tasty tasty Nuremberg and modern Frankfurt am Main.

While I failed in my attempt to eat at least one sausage per day, there were plenty of historical sites to see each day, as the purpose of the trip was to expose American educators to modern Germany.

At the Institut's website you can find information on the program as well as the application process. In addition, you can order materials for your classroom no matter what grade level you teach.

I highly recommend this program to all social studies educators and would like to thank the Goethe Institut, the Robert Bosch Foundation and Deutsche Bank for an opportunity of a lifetime.

Tucker 48's

When bombarded with the inevitable "Can we watch a movie?" question from students I would always tell them that we would watch one, and only one, "movie" in class once all of the EOCT testing hoopla was finished. My selection was always "Tucker: The Man and His Dream." Good flick, relevant to econ and a PG rating to boot!

The story ends with Tucker out of business after making only 35 vehicles (16 more were completed after the fact). Turns out someone in Wisconsin is working on the 52nd Tucker. To say I would love to take that car out for a spin would be a bit of an understatement. "Hold that tiger, hold that tiger..."

Aug 21, 2009


If there is a cooler way to look at statistics and economic data out there I would like to see it because this site absolutely rules. I don't hand out the Econblog Seal of Awesomeness very often but I am going to do it right now. Show this website to your students and I guarantee they will be blown away.

You can also watch Hans Rosling discuss Gapminder right here-
Hans is the real deal.

Aug 19, 2009

North Dakota Baby!

North Dakota has many things to brag about. It is home to the world's largest walleye, the world's largest catfish, and the world's largest holstein cow. North Dakota has given us legendary musician Lawrence Welk, baseball great Roger Maris, Police Woman Angie Dickinson, and GCEE Executive Director David Martin.

Want some more North Dakota facts? Of course you do. North Dakota produces enough sugarbeets that produce enough sugar to sweeten 27 billion gallons of Kool-Aid, North Dakota ranks #1 for high school completion rates and the parking meter was invented in North Dakota.

North Dakota also has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and is looking for workers. Take that Nebraska!

Aug 18, 2009

$$$$ for Clunkers- My Plan

If we are going to give $3,500-$4,500 for vehicle purchases why don't we try this: trade in your gas guzzler and the government gives you $$$ (wouldn't even have to be $3,500-$4,500) toward the purchase of a brand new bicycle. Think of all the "problems" this would solve.

Dependence on foreign oil...check.

Horrifying obesity problem in our country...check.

Traffic congestion...check.

Pollution from vehicles...check.

This plan would stimulate the bicycle producing industry, helmet manufacturers, makers of Gatorade and water bottles, as well as the people who produce the little helmet mirrors you see now and then. Sure, we would all have to get up a little earlier each morning in order to make it to work on time but the positive side of this is that the alarm clock industry will get a much needed shot in the arm.

Aug 15, 2009

On Education

Sir Ken Robinson discusses educational possibilities.

Your Weekend Reading

Sin city is on sale.
I visited in March and it did seem a bit ghost-townish.
Over the top conspicuous consumption is a tough sell when everyone is broke.

Aug 14, 2009

Kids Love Calculators!

There are about 50 or 60 zillion online "calculators" floating around out there on the "Internets" so how do you pick just a few that are useful for your students? After all, we have calculators that will tell you that eating seven Baconators is a bad idea. Calculators that can tell you how many days until the yearly Little 5 Points Halloween parade. Heck, there is even this.

All of those are great but I'm thinking these three would be quite helpful during that personal finance unit you keep putting off until later. You've got your savings calculator, your budget planner calculator and your credit card pay-off calculator.

Why Education Matters

Aug 11, 2009

Where Fish Comes From

Untitled from Mike on Vimeo.

The main event at the Tsukiji Fish Market.
5:30 am on a Friday.

Aug 10, 2009

School Day

Welcome back to school everyone. After today you only have 179 more days until summer vacation. It will be here before you know it.

What's new at the Georgia Council you ask? Well, we have been working diligently all summer to bring you what you have come to expect from us...workshops that are worth your time and access to valuable resources that will help you teach economics. With that in mind we are happy to announce that we will be offering a number of new workshops this fall.

Starting next week you can attend our new one day Micro workshop for high school teachers (you will walk away with a John Stossel "Teaching Tools for Micro" DVD). In addition, we will be offering a number of high school one day workshops that focus on Macro (you will get a 2nd Stossel DVD) and another that focuses on International. Visit for registration details.

For all of you middle school teachers out there we will be offering a new workshop called "Economics in World Studies." This workshop, born out of the highly successful middle school Berry College Summer Institute, will provide you with a wealth of information that will be very useful in the classroom. Visit for registration details.

Back by popular demand is our middle and high school series "Economies in Transition." This year we will focus on Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. Visit for registration details.

On the web side of things ECONBLOG is happy to welcome back Starr's Mill High School teacher extraordinaire Michael Melvin for another year of his popular "From the Classroom" teaching tips. We are also happy to welcome 2009 Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year Ms. Amy Hennessy aboard as a new blog contributor. Amy will be sharing teaching tips and successful strategies from the AP classroom. Look for her "From the AP Classroom" posts soon.

As always, please let us know what we can do to help you teach economics.

Aug 6, 2009

Facebook Us

The Georgia Council now has a Facebook group page. Check it out if you are into the Facebook thing.

Tongue-in-Cheek Quote of the Day

"Believe it or not, it turns out that Americans will buy a lot more cars if you pay them a bunch of money to do it."- NYTimes Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins

Aug 4, 2009

Troup County's Got Seoul

Welcome back to school everyone! What a great time to be an economics teacher. Say what you will about the current miserable state of the economy, or the increased levels of government intervention in the economy, but I think we can all agree that studying economics is about as popular as it has ever been in this country. So much doom and gloom to share with the kids, so little time before the EOCT! Where do you even start?

Well maybe it is not all doom and gloom. Take for example Kia. The South Korean vehicle manufacturer is coming to Georgia (actually they are already here). Soon Kia will be churning out new Sedona's or Soul's or whatever vehicles they plan on producing in West Point, GA.

I would be interested in hearing from any teachers that live in Kia's part of the state. What do you think? Is this going to be a good deal or has the state given away too much to lure Kia to Troup County?

Aug 1, 2009

Your Weekend Reading

I wonder if the Somali pirates are Keynesians or supply-siders? Money quote of the story..." it's less dangerous than living in war-torn Mogadishu." Touche.

This article has numerous parts so be sure to click on the various links... and don't forget to play the interactive pirate game.