Dec 08, 2020

Curriculum Insider: 5 Ways Teachers Customize the NGPF Middle School Course

We hosted two Virtual PDs over the last few weeks on customizing the NGPF Middle School Course. The ideas teachers shared were so good that we wanted to make sure YOU had access to them too! Below, we're sharing five key ways teachers are customizing the course to better meet their students' needs. 


#1: Differentiating

Teachers' responses showed that the Middle School Course isn't just for middle school students - it can be used for high school and elementary students as well! Here are some ways educators shared they plan to differentiate the course content for their students: 

  • Sherry looked at MS-5.5 Power of Compound Interest and plans to use this lesson to reteach the content to any of her high school students who may need more support and guidance. 
  • Jill C. went through MS-1.2 Exploring Tradeoffs and decided to keep things simple by modifying the word problems so that they're at her students' 5th grade level. 
  • Jennie H. explored MS-1.3 Your Future Life and expressed that she wants to use this lesson with her high school seniors! 


#2: Tailoring the Lesson Resources

As you probably know by now, all of NGPF's curriculum is available in Google Docs so that you can easily modify the content for your students' needs. Many educators explained how they would tailor the individual resources within specific lessons to better work within the parameters of their class, including: 

  • Lisa W. plans to use a Google Form for the FINE PRINT portion in MS-2.3 How to Read a Receipt to capture her students' responses more efficiently.
  • Allysa F. took a look at the same lesson and wants to incorporate receipts from local businesses so her students will be even more invested in the lesson content! 
  • Varun G. explored Unit 3 on Budgeting and shared that he might want to cut down on some of the content given that he has only 50 minute periods. 


#3: Providing More Guidance

As teachers looked through the Middle School Course lessons, they reflected on additional support their students might need to complete the material. Here are some ideas they came up with: 

  • Kari B. went through MS-7.1 Digital Citizenship and added detailed expectations for the written portions to help her students get started on those pieces. 
  • Erin M. looked at MS-8.5 Interviewing Skills and included the specific interview questions she wants her students to answer. She also incorporated additional questions about how previous interview answers could be modified to impress an interviewer.


#4: Incorporating Various Engagement Strategies

Not only did teachers share how they would modify the resources within lessons, but they also explained how they planned to engage students with those resources! For example: 

  • Laurie explored MS-9.5 A Budget for the Future and plans to use the "Draw It" feature in Nearpod or have students insert a picture of themselves enjoying their best life! She also is considering using a pair-share exercise to discuss the rent portion of the lesson. 
  • Dawn F. looked through MS-5.3 Savings vs. Checking Accounts and modified the MOVE activity in the lesson so that it's in a slide deck format. This way, students can drag and drop the slides to complete the activity virtually! 


#5: Expanding on Content Knowledge

Finally, teachers were excited to build on the content that is covered in the Middle School Course by including additional resources for their students! Here are some ideas they came up with: 

  • Linda would like to add a Ted Talk video on the famous Marshmallow Test to MS-5.1 Why Saving is Important. 
  • Megan M. looked at MS-3.2 Needs vs. Wants and added an article that discusses the influence of TikTok on purchasing decisions. She expanded this concept by adding more videos on ways that influencers and businesses convince you to buy more than you actually want. 
  • Christina explored MS-9.3 Alternatives to 4-Year Colleges and included an additional article with a flyer assignment for students to conduct more research, followed by a gallery walk! 


As you can see, there are an infinite number of ways you can customize the Middle School Course for your students. We were blown away by teachers' creativity and want to thank all of the educators who joined us in these Virtual PDs! We hope the ideas they shared come in handy for when you are looking to customize the Middle School Course for your class! 

About the Authors

Sonia Dalal

Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!

Christian Sherrill

Former teacher, forever financial education nerd. As NGPF's Director of Growth & Advocacy, Christian is laser-focused on our mission to guarantee all students a rigorous personal finance course before crossing the high school graduation stage. Having paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years - while living in the Bay Area on an entry level teacher's salary - he's eager to help the next generation avoid financial pitfalls one semester at a time.

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