California Council for the Social Studies Workshops Introduce Lessons, Instructional Strategies for Teaching Current Economic Events

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Sessions highlight economic stimulus package, the role of government in the economy and Three Little Pigs

Will the Three Little Pigs get swept up in the foreclosure crisis? As if defending their homes against the Big Bad Wolf wasn't tough enough, now they have to battle a credit crunch?

To help California K-12 teachers cover the current economic crisis in their classrooms, the Council for Economic Education (formerly known as the National Council on Economic Education) is conducting a series of teacher workshops at the California Council for the Social Studies (, CCSS) Conference at the Ontario Convention Center on Friday, March 6th and Sunday, March 8th.

During the workshops, California teachers will explore print, CD, DVD and web-based lesson plans designed to help them infuse much-needed basic economic and personal finance concepts into their social studies curriculum. Teachers will:

  •      discover how to tie economic concepts to current events
  •      find ready-to-use lesson plans that enhance their K-12 economics and personal finance curriculum
  •      explore strategies and techniques that help them teach economics with confidence

"Today's economy is undergoing unprecedented changes, from bank bailouts to stimulus packages to globalization, but how is a time-starved teacher supposed to cover it all?" asks Troy D. White, the Council for Economic Education's Director of Sales and Marketing. "These workshops are a rescue package for teachers: affordable, standards-based lesson plans; time-saving curriculum planning resources; and interactive Web sites that help students hone their 21st Century learning skills. Best of all, these workshops help teachers put the current economic crisis in a context any student can understand."

For the Little Ones: Teaching Economics in Elementary School

Is it too early to teach economics to elementary school students? Not if Mr. Bill Cooper, a retired social studies teacher from Mira Costa High School, has his way. His workshop, Using Play Dough ( and the Three Little Pigs to Teach Elementary Economics (, will explore how to combine two ever-popular activities -- fairy tales and sticky sculpting clay -- to form the ultimate hands-on economics curriculum.

First, teachers discover how Play Dough can transform mundane concepts like opportunity cost, money and bartering into exciting clay creations. Second, teachers analyze how the Three Little Pigs learned the value of natural resources and the meaning of scarcity as they each built their homes. This combination of children's literature and sculpting clay gives teachers an array of resources that make introducing economics to young students both fun and engaging.

Understanding -- and Teaching -- Current Economic Events: Teaching Economics in High School

Would you like to Transform Your High School Economics Class into a Capstone Course? With Mr. Cooper at their side, California teachers discover how to use interactive lesson plans to teach hot-button topics like the economic stimulus package. Mr. Cooper will examine four areas of the US economy that play a major role in economic events and decisions.

Economics in US History: Teaching Economics in Middle and High School

During the workshop Understanding Economics in US History (, Mrs. Kathy Miles, the Council for Economic Education's Teacher Support Specialist, asks a simple question: "Would you sell yourself into indentured servitude?" The answer will surprise you. Mrs. Miles will explore how economic concepts like choices and benefits drove many into indentured servitude for the hope of a better life in a new, far-flung country.

Teachers will also analyze how other historical economic events, like the Great Depression, can be applied to today's current economic crisis. Using mystery-based lesson plans and interactive teaching strategies, teachers will develop a solid understanding of must-know concepts like demand, income, money and opportunity cost that will enhance any U.S. history course.

Winning in the Global Economy: Teaching Economics in Middle and High School

No conference is complete without a dose of global economics. In the workshop Competing in a Global Economy: Good Theater vs. Bad Theater, Mr. Cooper will use timely lesson plans to demonstrate how globalization and the new economic stimulus package will impact the US economy. Teachers explore fundamental principles like free trade, comparative advantage and economic development. As an added bonus, teachers will also explore ethical dilemmas using economic reasoning as a tool.

Exhibit Hall

For teachers interested in infusing more economics and personal finance into their curriculum, the Council for Economic Education will preview its latest technology- and print-based materials at booth 308. Booth attendees will also have the opportunity to register to win an iPod shuffle.

Teacher Workshop Schedule at the California Council for the Social Studies Conference (CCSS 2009)

Friday, March 6th

Using Play Dough and the Three Little Pigs to Teach Elementary Economics
Session A
8:30 - 9:30am
Room: 103

Transform Your High School Economics Class into a Capstone Course
Session F
Room 202AB

Sunday, March 8th

Understanding (and Teaching) Economics in US History
Session P
Room: 107C

Competing in a Global Economy: Good Theater vs. Bad Theater
Session R
Room: 100B

About the Presenters

Bill Cooper -- a retired teacher from Mira Costa High School who has been teaching economics since 1960 and is coordinating Council for Economic Education's workshops at the California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) conference. Mr. Cooper is past president of CASET (, the California Association of School Economics Teachers and an Economics Teacher of the Year award winner.

Kathy Miles -- a former business, economics and English teacher from Lakeview, Oregon, Mrs. Miles is currently a teacher support specialist for the Council for Economic Education. She was a also a DECA Advisor.

About the Council for Economic Education
The Council for Economic Education envisions a world in which people are empowered through economic and financial literacy to make informed and responsible choices throughout their lives as consumers, savers, investors, workers, citizens, and participants in our global economy.

The Council for Economic Education ( offers comprehensive, best-in-class K-12 economic and personal finance education programs, including the basics of entrepreneurship, consisting of teaching resources across the curriculum, professional development for teachers, and nationally-normed assessment instruments. Each year, the Council's programs reach more than 150,000 K-12 teachers and over 15 million students in the United States and in more than 30 other countries. These programs are delivered through a diversified system: directly from the Council, through a network of affiliated state Councils and university-based Centers for Economic Education, and through other partner organizations.


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Martina Krivankova
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