Want to improve or expand financial education for your students? Learn about free professional development, new resources, and more in this edition of Making Cents: Financial Education News You Can Use!
September 2017


Have you ever joined a  Making Cents Webinar ? If not, you are missing out! These free, 90-minute professional development opportunities offer Pennsylvania educators information on financial topics, resources for teaching personal finance topics to students, and valuable professional information.

The first ones for this school year are being offered on Wednesday, September 27th. Make sure you  register today  to secure your spot! Sessions are offered at 3:00 pm and 6:30 pm and participants with a valid PPID number will receive 1.5 hours of free Act 48 credit. 

Topics and speakers include:
  • Pennsylvania's PK-12 Personal Finance Curriculum Framework: Six Big Ideas  
    Hilary Hunt, The Making Cents Project
  • Using Children's Literature to Teach Personal Finance and Economics 
    Dr. Andrew Hill, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Project Based Learning and Personal Finance: A Perfect Pair 
    Hilary Hunt, The Making Cents Project

The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) just released a new resource to help teachers better provide financial education for students with disabilities. The   Cents and Sensibility Educator Companion Manual was developed to accompany PATF's award-winning Cents and Sensibility: a guide to money management with accommodations for classroom use. 
Pennsylvania teachers -- both traditional high school personal finance teachers and special education teachers--were involved in the development of the educator manual. 

The Educator Companion Manual includes teacher background information, essential questions, suggested activities, correlations to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards and more. In addition, PowerPoint slides are available to accompany each chapter. Feedback from educators who use the materials this school year will be used to measure its impact and make program improvements.  Interested in piloting the program or providing feedback? Contact Hilary Hunt at hilary@makingcentspa.org


How much space would you need to capture the essence of a complex financial topic? According to Napkin Finance, you need about the space of your average napkin. What started as a simple way to communicate financial concepts has grown into an entire financial education suite with over 200 napkins organized by topic or life event -each with additional information when you click the napkin. There are also short explanatory videos, podcasts and more. And, the site is also now available in Spanish.

How can you use Napkin Finance in the classroom? Consider these three quick ideas:
  • Have students view and discuss a napkin on a topic you are studying such as FICO credit scores or interest rates. Consider having them critique the content. Does the information make sense? Was a key fact or important information missing?
  • Use a Napkin Finance video or podcast to explain a topic in class or as homework.
  • Challenge students to create their own 'napkin' on a topic of your - or their - choice. The team from Napkin Finance gives an inside view into their own development process here.
Cathy Bowen, PhD, CFCS
Professor, Consumer and Financial Issues
The Pennsylvania State University

There is no shortage of financial information and resources. Private companies, financial institutions, professional organizations and non-profit organizations, to name a few provide financial education materials and educational programs. One source secondary teachers should not overlook is the federal government. A primary advantage of government provided financial education resources is the objective presentation of facts and information with no subtle selling by branding of products.

One longstanding publication, The Consumer Action Handbook (CAH), has been produced yearly since 1979. If you are looking for one resource to introduce students to consumer and financial resources provided by the federal government, the CAH is your go to guide. It covers practical information on matters consumers face daily such as banking, getting started with utility services, food and nutrition, credit, privacy and identity theft and buying big-ticket items such as cars and homes. Other topics included are the basics related to investing, employment, insurance, health care, and telecommunications (internet, phone, TV). Although the content of the guide has changed to reflect the changes in the marketplace and problems consumers face, a few consistencies have remained. For example, one section included over the years is a list of federal agencies with a short description of the agencies' roles and contact information. Another section contains a list of consumer protection offices by state, and counties in states that have freestanding consumer protection offices. The CAH is an excellent resource to introduce students to government resources supported by tax dollars.

Printed copies of the Consumer Action Handbook are free and can be ordered online or if you are a totally-tech teacher, the online version can be accessed on the web.


Registration is open for two national financial education conferences that are within driving distance of Pennsylvania this year. 

Council on Economic Education's Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference
October 6-7 | Brooklyn, NY 
$175 registration  

  • Nationally recognized guest speakers including William C. Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Beth Kobliner, journalist and New York Times Best Selling Author
  • Numerous breakout sessions including: 
    • Hamilton: Where History, Broadway, and Economics Meet
    • The Elementary Math Class: A natural fit for financial literacy
    • Using "Shark Tank" to Teach Economics and Entrepreneurship

Jump$tart National Educator Conference
November 3-5 | Washington, DC
$425 for classroom teachers includes lodging

  • Optional pre-conference sessions
  • Performance by The National Theatre for Children
  • Keynote presentation on Gender Differences in Money Matters by Janet Bodnar, editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance and popular author
  • Breakout presentations by Jump$tart's national partners including the National Endowment for Financial Education, Next Gen Personal Finance, H&R Block Budget Challenge, Federal Trade Commission, Experian, and more

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. 
PDE small horizontal logo
Team Members: 
Hilary Hunt, The Making Cents Project