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If It's Not Any Fun, You're Doing it Wrong

Today's guest blogger is Tracey Newman, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher and FEFE Master Teacher. Tracey is sending this post from the 9th Annual Family Economics and Financial Education (FEFE) Conference.

Having been a teacher for many years now, I know two things:

1) Students seem to learn more (and have better attitudes) when school is fun


2) sometimes the most important concepts we teach are not always fun.

By the phrase "most important concepts" I could really be talking about anything in the realm of family and consumer sciences--parenting skills, interpersonal skills, career preparation, the list could go on for a while. The big topic that I'm referring to, though, is financial education. Sure, students understand that money is going to be a really important topic for the rest of their lives, but getting them thoroughly educated about topics such as insurance and spending plans can be a bit more of a challenge.

I've been at the 9th annual Family Economics and Financial Education (FEFE) conference this week, where teachers from all disciplines and all across the country (even one from South Korea) have been hearing from experts about our country's economic system and new credit regulation. This group is on the cutting edge of financial education. Some of my students would think that sounds boring. They would be wrong. The reason they are so wrong is evident to anyone who has ever attended a FEFE training and seen the curriculum in action.

Back when the project started, they decided it would be more appealing (and beneficial) to students if it were offered in an activity-based format. From there it snowballed, adding learning activities such as "Fly Swatter Facts" and modifying an ordinary "Twister" game into engaging, ready-to-teach, free activities for educators. The motto this week has evolved into "If its not any fun, you're doing it wrong." That might be the single best way to describe FEFE's materials---effective and fun. There's even a "spoons" game that the participants (and my students back home) can't seem to get enough of. When was the last time somebody complained that time was up for an insurance lesson? Check out these activities and many more at FEFE's website.

Missouri family and consumer sciences teachers learn more about identity theft prevention during FEFE's CSI night.

Participants "spoon up" some insurance knowledge during the spoons learning activity.

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