Monday, November 30, 2020

izzit Civics Blog – Blog 6 – Alternative to Screen Time





Back in the 1980s, Cyndi Lauper sang a song, “Time after time” which has become (in the COVID-19 world,) screen time after screen time as a result of remote learning classrooms. While my Civics class utilizes technology, I prepped this week for the culminating class which is a program titled Win-Win and devoid of technology (screen time).

Win-Win is a hands-on classroom trading game that gets every student involved. Through the experience of actually trading items, students will learn important lessons about economics and trade. The real-life dimension of the game (that students get to keep traded items) engages them in a way few classroom exercises can match. After they play the game, you can debrief them on their experience and share important lessons. We've suggested some possible points for discussion. Even the most disinterested student will be drawn into the excitement of Win-Win. (In fact, you may be surprised to find that the student who is often most disengaged may be the shining star in this game!)
Removed from screen time, this simulation is a hands-on student interaction activity (in a socially distanced, safe environment!) Note, once back to in-class education, this is a great way to have students learn away from the computer and focusing on key topics - free enterprise, capitalism, globalization, and property rights!


I began the class with my opening discussion point, what is bartering, and have you ever bartered anything? Quick responses involved bartering with a sibling/family member. Others shared talents they possess and how they "bartered” for expertise by others. I then showed the izzit.org Teachable Moment, "Barter and Entrepreneurship" which illustrated the rudimentary theme that providing a service is beneficial to both sides - actually stated by one of my students!

The worksheet was distributed prior, and asked students to answer - Have you ever had to barter for something? Most people have, even if they don’t realize it. Think of any time you have exchanged something other than money for another object or service. Moving to izzit.org educational video, The Foundations of Wealth, which is designed to help students understand what the subject of Economics is all about. Economic decisions are made every day, even though students may not be aware of them. For example, all of us think about: How will I choose to spend my time today? How will I choose to spend my money? Who made the things I use? How were they made? This video will help explain a great deal about the way in which these decisions are made.

I focused on segments 1, 2, & 6, for a total of a half hour of video time and proposed the following:
  1. What is the “secret” which enables a society to start improving its way of life?        
  2. What happens when you spend all your time at one job? 
The class will culminate next week with the hands-on simulation on bartering and trade, both open and restricted!
 
Pictures and follow-up next week!
 
Want to learn how to use Win/Win with your class? Watch this instructional video.
 

Dean Graziano is the Vice-President of izzit.org. He is a multi-state, award-winning educator and former Curriculum Specialist Teacher grades 6-12 Social Studies, with over 25 years in education. He served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and also selected by the College Board to be an Advanced Placement Reader for U.S. History. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data base company.

In 2007, in a surprise visit to his school, he was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. Dean was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator- of -the Year. Dean’s pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by NH Governor, Chris Sununu as the model for the State of N.H. Career Academies. In 2019, he developed and implemented a proposal to purchase a Mobile Classroom ( a new & remodeled 36’ RV, aka M.A.P.s) utilizing Perkins V funding, to bring CTE/WBL programming - leveling the playing field/equity for ALL NH students and spoke nationally at several ACTE Conferences on this model.

 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

econlife - Who Will Sacrifice Civil Liberties During a Pandemic? by Elaine Schwartz

 


In a new NBER paper, a group of Harvard and Stanford scholars investigated how much of our civil liberties we would trade for better health conditions. Their data came from 370,000 individuals in 15 countries. Given to participants between March and October 2020, the surveys were ongoing.


As a teacher, I could not resist beginning with a quiz. Before seeing the results of the survey, do give it a guess. Starting with the country least willing to sacrifice civil liberties for better health conditions (#1) and ending with the place most willing (#14), please create a 1-14 ranking. (In this part of the survey, one of the 15 countries, Sweden, was excluded because of different data.)

The countries:

Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, The United Kingdom, the United States

The answers are in the five graphics that precede “Our Bottom Line.”

Civil Liberties Tradeoffs

Asked about the tradeoff through survey questions, 80 percent of the participants were willing to trade off some civil liberties for better health conditions. However, as you might expect there was a big difference between the United States and China. During a major crisis, four times as many U.S. respondents as those from China were unwilling to give up civil liberties. Among the Chinese participants, only five percent were unwilling to sacrifice rights.

The researchers, though, cited individual differences.  For certain people, as worry about the health risk went up–especially those most susceptible to COVID-19–so too did their willingness to give up liberties. Others valued civil liberties above all, They also found that individuals with less education, less attachment to the labor force, and (in the U.S.) racial and ethnic minorities were less willing to trade liberties. As for the time factor, initially, there was less willingness to give up liberties. Then, after June, attitudes plateaued.

Quiz Results

For the quiz results, it all depends on which civil liberty you select. The length of the bars reflects individuals’ unwillingness to give up that civil liberty. You can see that China is definitely last and respondents from Singapore (SGP) and India wound up with shorter bars. I found it interesting that “Endure Economic Losses” had the least resistance.

Sacrifice Own Rights and Relax Privacy Protections:



Suspend Democratic Procedures:



Sacrifice Free Press and Endure Economic Losses:


Our Bottom Line: Trade-offs

As always, looking at trade-offs through an economic lens, we can say that, “Choosing is refusing.” Furthermore, we should always keep in mind that every decision has a cost. Defined economically, cost is a sacrificed alternative that need not be money.

My sources and more: Today’s post was based on this new NBER paper. Ninety pages long, it has much more than I presented. I suggest taking a look. It is un-gated.

Our featured image is a National Park Service photograph of the Liberty Bell that is located in Independence National Historical Park.

Ideal for the classroom, econlife.com reflects Elaine Schwartz’s work as a teacher and a writer. As a teacher at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, she’s been an Endowed Chair in Economics and chaired the history department. She’s developed curricula, was a featured teacher in the Annenberg/CPB video project “The Economics Classroom,” and has written several books including Econ 101 ½ (Avon Books/Harper Collins). You can get econlife on a daily basis! Head to econlife.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Civics with Dean - Class 5 – Mock Election

 


It doesn't get better than this - teaching Civics during a Presidential Election year!

izzit.org diligently worked on creating mock-election materials, including key terms students should know as they navigate their way through election media coverage. In addition, izzit.org provided I Voted stickers to truly emulate the voter experience. 

Since my class is in New Hampshire, I wanted to keep up with the First-in-the Nation motto, so I decided to have my class be the izzit.org Mock Election pilot. We began the class with a new Teachable Moment, "Why Reading Matters," which features economist and educator Thomas Sowell. The message I wanted the class to understand was that reading, researching, and being aware of the candidates makes citizens better informed. Rather than relying on hearsay, students (electorate) need to be self-reliant and take responsibility while performing their civic duty. I prefaced to the students that when they do the reading (research), they alone can decide devoid of other opinions or misinformation. One part of their homework was to research who they would be voting for today!

I then turned on the television and selected two channels with opposing viewpoints - the Ah, Ha moment happened! Some students heard what was important to a particular political base on one channel, and a very different perspective from the other station. Several topics were discussed as replicated from the talking points at the second presidential debate. They included:

1) Economy
2) Covid
3) Race issues
4) Foreign relations
5) 2nd Amendment (as both candidates had local ads in NH addressing this issue)

I then introduced Jeff Kelman, VP of Development at izzit.org and a well-researched expert on the 2nd Amendment. Jeff explained the Framers' intent, and further discussed the implications on both sides of the issue. My students had some focused questions, including the fact that new gun technology was never foreseen by the Framers. My students insisted that this meant the Constitution is a living document. Finally, I shared the impetus behind the 26th Amendment and that eighteen is the age to be able to vote in the United States.


As students came up to receive their ballots, vote, and return their ballot to our “voting box,” they received an I Voted sticker (see picture). After ballots were read, the class selected former Vice-President Joe Biden to win over President Trump by 6-4.

izzit.org's complete Mock Election results can be found here: https:/izzit.org/mock_election


Dean Graziano is the Vice-President of izzit.org. He is a multi-state, award-winning educator and former Curriculum Specialist Teacher grades 6-12 Social Studies, with over 25 years in education. He served on the Massachusetts MCAS Standard Setting Panel, and also selected by the College Board to be an Advanced Placement Reader for U.S. History. He worked on the historical inquiry model and a national presenter for ABC-Clio, a Social Studies data base company. 


In 2007, in a surprise visit to his school, he was awarded the United States Department of Educations' American Star of Teaching Award. Dean was selected as the 2017 State of New Hampshire's Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator- of -the Year. Dean’s pilot program in Rochester, NH was singled out by NH Governor, Chris Sununu as the model for the State of N.H. Career Academies. In 2019, he developed and implemented a proposal to purchase a Mobile Classroom ( a new & remodeled 36’ RV, aka M.A.P.s) utilizing Perkins V funding, to bring CTE/WBL programming - leveling the playing field/equity for ALL NH students and spoke nationally at several ACTE Conferences on this model.