My economics activities, however, were lacking the same flavor as my geography, history and government activities. Thankfully, I came across the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE), the organization that selected me as a Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year. The council helps teachers teach economics by creating innovative instructional materials and disseminating those materials through teacher workshops at no cost to the teacher or school. It was at my first GCEE workshop back in 2012 that I learned how to spice up economics.
Immersing students in the learning and making them the central part of the lesson tends to be the most powerful of my strategies because students are actively involved in the learning, not just passively absorbing it. Taking my own advice I dove right in, immersing myself in the economics section of the sixth grade Georgia Performance Standards (now Georgia Standards of Excellence). I took what I learned at the workshops, mixed it together with my personal and professional passions as well as my existing teaching strategies to develop creative methods to teach those standards. One way was through rap music. I made a list of all the vocabulary and concepts students must learn and then wrote a song incorporating all of those terms in “Imports and Exports.” I teach the song in class and students keep a copy of the lyrics in their interactive student notebooks. There is also a video version on YouTube for students to learn the lyrics at home.