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.