Making Cents of Financial Literacy and Economic Education
information for Pennsylvania teachers in grades K - 12
 May 2014 
Curriculum Resource
New PreK-12 Model Curriculum for Pennsylvania Financial Education Program

What should schools be teaching in personal finance and how does that connect with what is in the Pennsylvania academic standards? These 

questions are answered in a new resource from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Penn State University. Developed by a team of educators from across the state, the model curriculum provides the following for grades PreK th

rough twelve: 

  • long-term transfer goals;
  • big ideas;
  • essential questions;
  • concepts;
  • competencies; and
  • standards.
The document can be downloaded now on the Making Cents website. Soon the model curriculum and additional resources will be made available on PDE's Standards Aligned System. Look for grade band summaries, grade level summaries, integration strategies for grades PreK-8, and a model high school course to be available soon.
Last Days Assignment
A Fun and Engaging Activity for the "Last Days of School"

Are you looking at just a few days or weeks left in the school 


year and wondering what you can do to keep your students engaged in the home stretch of the school year? Consider having students listen to a popular song and write about it. The song Billionaire has been out for a few years. It was first made popular by Bruno Mars but now has more school-friendly versions from KidzBop and the Glee cast. The song opens with, "I wanna be a billionaire so very bad, buy all the things I never had." Have students listen to the song and then retell how the songwriter planned to use his money if he were to become a billionaire. See if they pick up on the theme of giving throughout the song. You can listen to the KidzBop version on YouTube here. Use caution with other versions as some have explicit lyrics. As with all use of media, please preview the song in its entirety to make sure it is appropriate for your students. 

Resource Spotlight
Pathways to Financial Success 

Created by Discover, Pathways to Financial Success helps bring financial education into classrooms across the country through advocacy, curriculum, and grants to schools. 


High schools can apply for grants to implement or expand their financial education program. Over twenty Pennsylvania schools have been successful in obtaining these grants. Will yours be next?


The advocacy section of the website includes a PSA to encourage parents to talk to their kids about money, videos about personal finance, statistics, and suggestions for convincing school administrators to offer financial education. 


Lesson plans to support financial education can be found both on the website and on the WeAreTeachers website. The lessons range from upper elementary to high school. 

'Pin' Some Resources This Summer
Making Cents Pinterest Boards: An Easy to Browse Source of Inspiration


Have you spent much time yet on Pinterest? While many use the site to find DIY projects or plan the picture-perfect weeding, the site has become increasingly useful for educators. Think of Pinterest as a visual bookmarking tool in which your favorite websites are catalogued onto "boards" instead of into virtual or manila folders.  To get you started, visit the Making Cents Project's Pinterest boards. They are organized by category and continue to grow. Like what you see? Re-pin it onto a board of your own. If you integrate personal finance into your classes, one general board for financial education will likely suffice. If you teach an entire course devoted to personal finance, you may wish to create separate boards for each unit. Also be sure to "follow" our account or individual boards so you can be notified when we add new pins. 

Expand Your Knowledge 
C Bowen
Paying for Post-Secondary Education
by Cathy Faulcon Bowen, Ph.D.


The cost of a post-secondary education and the amount of outstanding student loan debt is a frequent topic in the print media and is often the focus of financial and policy oriented talk shows. The months of May and June are primetime teachable moments to raise awareness about student loan debt as we have college and high school graduations. Freshly minted college graduates face the reality that they now have to start repaying loans very soon. 


Many high school graduates heading to college have just completed FAFSA Forms (Federal Application for Federal Student Aid) and if borrowing to finance their education will later, face mounds of papers to sign related to those loans. After careful consideration or haphazard choices, many life changing consumer decisions will be made to get a higher education. 


As a teacher and influential member in your community, take advantage of this opportunity to at least point would be borrowers (whether parents or students) in the direction of resources that could save them money, headaches, or heartaches.  Borrowing to finance a college education is more complicated than using a credit card.  Not only can 18 year olds borrow thousands of dollars without a day of work under their belt, but their parents can also borrow money to help finance their son or daughter's education. Confounding the issue are the various places to borrow and types of loans. For example, you can borrow from the federal government and private lenders. Some federal loans are subsidized, and others are not.  Some loans require a review of a credit history for co-signers. Without upfront planning and thinking ahead to repaying the loans, a few missteps can create a debt hole that may take decades to dig out of. Money spent on a college education is usually a good investment. However, like any investment, a few wrong decisions can turn a potentially profit making venture into a financially draining event.


As you send off your high school graduates to their first year in college, arm them and their parents with questions to ask and resources that can help them make informed choices about student loans. Challenge the teens and their parents to spend at least as much time charting out a plan to borrow for college as they did for the high school prom or the last family vacation!   See the ready to print three-page summary of student loan facts, questions borrowers should ask, and additional resources to explore BEFORE signing loan agreements.

Summer Professional Development 
FRB Philly
Summer Programs at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia


The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is again offering summer professional development programs for teachers in Pennsylvania. Mark your calendars for the following programs and get more information at their website as it becomes available.


Keys to Financial Success

July 7 - July 11 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Participants are required to attend all five days.)

Open to teachers from grades 9-12

Registration fee: $0

Registration: email Todd Zartman at 


Making Sense of Money and Banking

July 21 - July 25, 2014 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Participants are required to attend all five days.)

Open to teachers from grades K-12

Registration fee: $50

Registration link: here


Entrepreneurship and You

August 5, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Reading

8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Open to teachers from grades 6-12

Registration fee: $10

Registration link: here


Geography and the Economy

August 6, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Reading

8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Open to teachers from grades 6-12

Registration fee: $10

Registration link: here 

Visit us online!

Find even more resources from The Making Cents Project at!
Quick Links
Model PreK-12 Curriculum
Billionaire Activity
Pathways to Financial Success
Making Cents Pinterest Boards
Paying for Post-Secondary Education
Summer Programs at the Philly Fed
PISA Financial Literacy Results
The Missing Semester
Literature Connection
July 9th - Mark Your Calendar
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which compares the knowledge of students in countries across the world on various subjects, assessed financial literacy for the first time. This is the first large-scale international study to assess the financial literacy of young people. Aspects of financial literacy tested include:
  • dealing with bank accounts and credit/debit cards
  • planning and managing finances
  • understanding taxes and savings
  • risk and rewards
  • consumer rights and responsibilities in financial contracts
The results of the data will be released in the US at an event on July 9th in Washington, DC. Consider attending the event or just mark your calendar to look for the results on July 9th. 
Student Panel and Book
The Missing Semester


Gene Natali, author of

The Missing Semester, has been hard at work promoting sound financial decision making skills for young adults. His book is based on the principle of ownership -- namely ownership on your own financial future. In April, Natali coordinated the second student panel focused on financial literacy in conjunction with the Vanguard Group, University of Pittsburgh, and Professor Jay Sukits. The panel included students from a number of schools in southwestern Pennsylvania.


Take a few minutes and watch videos from the event here. Your students may be particularly interested in the keynote address delivered by Matt Sauers of the University of Pittsburgh.  If you are interested in using The Missing Semester in your classroom, contact Gene Natali for more information.


Children's Literature Connection
Those Shoes



Reading Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts can teach students about wants, needs, fads, and giving. 

 Jeremy is the the main character in the book, and he wants nothing more than a specific pair of shoes that everyone at school seems to be wearing. Jeremy's grandma says, "there's no room for 'want' want around here--just 'need.'" When his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren't much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has - warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend - are worth more than the things he wants.


A corresponding lesson aimed at students in kindergarten through fifth grade is available from Library Sparks here.

About this Message 

Making Cents is a cooperative effort by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University. If you find the content useful, please consider forwarding it to your colleagues. 


Team Members:

Sally Flaherty, PDE

Cathy F. Bowen, PSU

Hilary Hunt, Consultant

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