Day 10 of the 24 Hour Personal Finance Course: How Do I Budget? Case Study

Mar 14, 2016
Budgeting, Teaching Strategies, Case Study

Today was day 10 of the course and the final day of our 3-day budgeting unit. We did the How Do I Budget? case study from our regular NGPF curriculum. This was my first time (ever, in life) implementing a case study in my classroom, so it was a brand new experience — always a great way to kick off a Monday — and I figure you’re best served by hearing my after-the-fact implementation strategies. 

Strategies I had the foresight to plan for:

  1. Eastside classes are 90 minutes, and this case study looked a bit short to me for that time, so I had a back-up plan (actually, 3 back-up plans). In the last 10 minutes I showed this clip about a woman who declared bankruptcy at age 23 due to overspending during college and lack of understanding of credit card consequences. It’s a resource from our Bankruptcy lesson, and it fits with this case study (because the case study focuses on budgeting to afford college) as well as with my upcoming unit on Credit. We did the case study at a VERY leisurely pace and it took 80 minutes, so I think it could certainly be done in 60 if needed.
  2. I made a quick seating chart (recall, this isn’t normally “my” class), and used it to tally every time each student participated aloud. The case study model centers so much around productive conversation and pushing each other’s thinking, so I felt it was integral to make sure everyone participated at least once with the whole group. I DEFINITELY didn’t achieve balance, but this at least let me strive for it.
  3. I chunked the reading (we did it out loud with student volunteers), the independent work, pair discussion (for the last section only), and whole group sharing, based on the natural sections in the case study. So, for example, Kevin read the introductory info, then they worked independently on questions 1-3, then we shared out responses to those. It was then that Eddie read the portion about her receipts, and we repeated those steps two more times. This is counter to how Tim had run previous case studies, but I was just personally uncomfortable with using larger blocks of time to do ALL of the independent work first, then ALL of the pair sharing, then ALL of the group discussion. Having not observed the previous case studies, I’m not sure which worked better as a use of class time, but at least you know you’ve got options.

Things I wish I’d planned for but did not:

  1. As we answered question 4, about what plan she should use to meet her saving goal, I opened a spreadsheet on the smart board and tried to capture some of the math they were using to get up to $3000 before next summer. I thought of this strategy on the fly, and it worked (for the most part), but it would have been more seamless had I thought of it earlier and thought about how to best organize the info I was capturing.
  2. Even though I had my seating chart, I still didn’t do a good enough job of making EVERYONE participate THOROUGHLY in the discussion. Before I do the credit case study, I’m going to think harder about this participation challenge and come up with a new strategy ahead of time. I’ll be sure to share.
  3. Anna, their regular teacher, and I have discussed this challenge twice now: It’s quite easy for students to give recommendations when it comes to budgeting, saving, and spending. “She doesn’t need to go out to eat! Eat all her meals at home! That’s $48 right there!” or “If all her friends want to spend money, she needs new friends!” But, of course, those things are easier said than done. I’d like to think more about how to PUSH students to not fall back on “just change her behaviors!” as though it’s so easy.

Do any of you have suggestions for how to combat my issue in #3? I’m going to post it on our Q&A Forum, so I’d love to see your responses there!

About the Author

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.