Published Sunday, November 25, 2012
From Staff Reports
If you could tell the president of the United States how to fix the economy, what would you say?
That question was posed to K-12 students nationwide by the Council on Economic Education (CEE), a nonprofit organization promoting economic education and financial literacy. The organization received hundreds of videos from across the country and posted them online for people to vote on their favorite.
East Coweta High School students in Cynthia Bennett’s AP Microeconomics class gave their answer in the form of a 60-second video, and were among three submissions nationwide to win CEE’s “Economists’ Choice” award.
The award was bestowed by economists selected by CEE to act as judges for the contest.
Entitled “Juggling Act,” the video created by Bennett’s students gave nine specific suggestions in a montage format for fixing the economy. The award-winning video can be viewed at http://www.councilforeconed.org/2012/10/25/cee-announces-winners-of-student-video-contest/ .
Bennett let her students drive the making of the video.
“I mentioned the video competition and then let it simmer for a while,” she said. “One day a couple of students asked about producing the video. During a class period, I gave them 30 minutes to brainstorm and write their suggestions for fixing the economy on the board.”
After reading through their ideas, Bennett saw they needed some work. She pointed out that many of the suggestions could have unintended consequences and some were in direct opposition to others.
“Then I said, ‘the President has to juggle a lot of components,’” Bennett said. “Too bad we don’t have someone in class who can juggle.’”
It turned out there was a student in the class who could juggle, and the theme emerged.
“A large group discussion was launched from my remark of the president having to juggle so many components,” Bennett said, adding that one student took notes and returned the next day with the script.
Bennett then took on the role of executive producer as her students created the 58-second video, with help from Central Educational Center video instructor Michael Britt.
Each of her 24 third-block students had a speaking part during the nine suggestions, with each dissolving into the next. The video began and ended with the student juggler.
Bennett didn’t tell her students about prizes until she found out they had won them. Bennett was awarded a $500 American Express gift card to use for classroom supplies and a $25 iTunes gift card went each of students featured in the winning video.
Throughout her 11 years of teaching economics, Bennett has taken several workshops the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE) offers. GCEE is one of the state councils affiliated with CEE that helps teachers with resources and advice to effectively teach economics.
With teacher workshops, classroom materials and programs like the Stock Market Game and the award-winning Georgia Economic History Project, GCEE helps teachers prepare students for their economic roles as workers, consumers, citizens and lifelong decision-makers in a globally interdependent world.
“I would not be as successful as I am now if it weren’t for the support of the Georgia Council,” said Bennett, who was a Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year finalist in 2007. “I have attended at least one workshop a year, ranging from Personal Finance to Globalization.”