Sep 05, 2023

Beyond the Student Activity Packet: How Teachers Add Variety to Their Lessons

We standardize our courses by providing a Student Activity Packet with each lesson. However, we don’t recommend using them every time as students will quickly (and understandably) get bored. Here are some tips from other teachers on FinLit Fanatics about how they mix it up to add variety to their lessons. 


Turn the Packets into Stations

"I take some of the packets & turn them into stations. This works well when you have a small activity, reading & video segments. The students move around the rooms in groups to complete the packets together."


Use the Jigsaw Method

Jigsaw is an instructional approach where students learn from each other, rather than from the teacher. 

"Students work in groups of 4 or 5 to read one article or watch one video & answer questions (master group) Then students from each master group gather in a DIFFERENT group to teach the article or video to this other group of students who weren't assigned that article. The article below explains it better than I did. It makes each student accountable for learning & teaching.
Hint: if you have a student who really struggles, pair them with a stronger learner if you have uneven numbers in your classroom."

Get a Discussion Going

 "My seniors like being engaged...class discussions were so valuable. They shut down when I let them do the SAP on their own. Their answers are so much better when they discuss!"

"We do them as class discussion. But everyone is required to fill out their own in their own words. Basically for participation points."

"I make a copy of the SAP and change it to what I want to use. I show the videos in class so we can discuss together, often I have them answer the questions as we go in class. This helps them stay connected." 


Use the Nearpods

Nearpod is an interactive instructional platform that gives educators real-time insights into student learning. NGPF has Nearpod slide decks for most of its courses.  

"I LOVE using the Nearpods because it keeps them engaged, and I know instantly (every time a question comes up) if they are getting it or if I need to reexplain something. I had students who were working remote or home on quarantine use the student activity packets. There were a couple times I used them in the classroom room too. I surveyed the kids - MOST preferred the Nearpods because it forces them to focus." 


Supplement with Current Events

"I use current events as an assignment, but I have read some great essays from my students in my Intro to Business class. I asked them to research an article about saving, investing, budgeting or personal debt. So far, they have read about health savings accounts, social investing, cryptocurrencies, 529 plans, 50-30-20 rule, and more. I am so thrilled because I will not be able to cover all these topics in class, and it gave them an opportunity to explore them independently."


Use the Student Activity Packets as a Study Guide

"I use the SAPs judiciously for guided notes and they serve as the students' study guide for assessments."


Pick and Choose What You Think Will Work Best

"NGPF is really meant to be interactive, so mix it up to keep the kids active. They won't like all packets & won't like all slide decks either. For one unit, I'll show a Nearpod, turn a packet into a jigsaw or stations activity. Then I'll do a MOVE and some of the interactives. I pick and choose what I think will be best." 

"Maybe some days pick and choose which resources they do and which can be skipped. Maybe some items instead of writing in the packet you do discussion instead. Solo work, pair work, group work. Make sure each day feels fresh by varying the delivery and the work product in small, easy-to-implement ways."

"I use arcade games, QoDs, FinCap Fridays & more activities mixed in with a project, choice board or fine print."

"Picking and choosing activities gets easier the more you dive into the NGPF curriculum." 


Want more tips like these? 

Check out 8 Creative Ways to Implement an NGPF Lesson and join the FinLit Fanatics Facebook Group to get ideas from other teachers. 






About the Author

Hannah Rael

As NGPF's Marketing Communications Manager, Hannah (she/her) helps spread the word about NGPF's mission to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans.

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