Business Fair Reflection
Great job on the Business Fair everyone! I heard so much positive feedback from parents, teachers, and upper class-men. I think the fair was a huge success! Now you get to cap it off by telling me what you learned from the experience: What went well for your group? What would you do differently if you were to do it over? What did you learn from the whole experience? Write up your answers according to the rubric and example below, and have it in your shared folder by Tuesday, May 19th. This grade will make up half of the individual portion of your Business Fair Project grade. Even though much of the Business Fair Project was a group project, this part of the assignment is individual--complete this assignment yourself.
Grading Yourself, and your Partners, on the Business Fair
Now that the Fair is over, it's time to reflect back on all you did, and all your partners did, to contribute to the overall performance of your business. Take some time before Tuesday, May 19th to complete the Google Form below. This will account for 15 of the 40 points that are your Individual Grade for the Business Fair. Complete this form by Tuesday, May 19th--failure to do so will result in zeros. As you evaluate your work and your partners', use the rubric listed on the form as your guide. Note: you must be signed into Google to complete the form.
Business Fair Marketing: Web Ads
Once you've been approved for business, now you can begin getting the word out about what your business will be doing, and trying to generate demand for your products and/or services.
This week in class students will work with their business partners on designing a quality web advertisement for their business. They will finish the ad by Thursday, and it will be included in a website that will be linked for the entire student body to view as they anticipate May 14th's Business Fair.
Business Fair "Pitch" Project
The Business Fair is in many ways the culminating project/event of the entire course. Students will use everything they've learned about managing resources, budgeting, marketing, customer service, and more to run their own small businesses at a school fair this coming May 14th right before lunch.
This week students will be putting together their business ideas into "Pitches" where they will present their business ideas to the school for approval. Students should remember and use everything they have learned this year about presentations (eye contact, little text on screen, props/examples, etc.) See below for the rubric, and an example. Business Fair "Pitches" will be due in class on Thursday, April, 23.
Unit 9 Test: Thursday, April 16
Our Unit 9 Test will be this coming Thursday, April 16. We will finish up the Unit early next week, and then will review leading up to Thursday's test. Below is a study guide for the Unit. As usual, if students know the importance of all the terms, and can answer all the questions, they should be in a position to do well on the test. Practice questions and a review game will be posted later on next week.
Meet our Kiva Borrowers who still need funding:
Click on their photos below to go to their profiles. Voyager, through our classes, has helped each of them a bit, but if you want to help them complete their funding goals, share them on your social networks, talk about them with your families, etc.
Kiva Presentation Voting
Take notes on your favorites during the presentations today, then afterwards click on the link below to vote for your favorites. Remember, the top vote getting borrowers from each class period will be awarded $100 in loan money.
Unit 8 Test
Click the link above, enter your Quia.com username and password, and then take your time reading all your questions and answer choices carefully to ensure you do your best. The test is open-note. There are no short essay questions on this test--only multiple choice. Good luck, and have fun.
Unit 8 Test Study Aides
Our Unit 8 Test will be an open-note, take home test that will be assigned to be taken this coming weekend, March 14-15. As usual, if students know the all the terms--what they mean and how they relate to our Unit--and if they can answer all the questions, they should be prepared to perform well on the test. Going through the Practice Questions and playing the Review Game would also be good ways to prepare.
Unit 8 Project Part 2: Kiva Presentation
Now that you've researched your developing country and hopefully know a few things about it, you will now get the chance to help advocate for a real world entrepreneur living and working in that country right now! Kiva.org is a Microfinance organization that helps connect borrowers in the developing world to lenders all over the planet. In this way, borrowers gain access to capital that will help them grow their businesses.
You will choose one borrower from you country who is currently asking for a loan on Kiva.org, and advocate for them (try to help them get their loan). You will create a short presentation (or video) about the country according to the rubric (listed below), and then introduce your borrower and explain about their background and why they are seeking a loan. We will present these presentations to others who will vote on which potential borrower they think should receive the loan. Each class period will have $100 that they will loan for real to one of our borrowers!
Unit 8 Project Part 1: Research Your Developing Country
In this unit you will become something of an expert on one developing country. In part one of this project you will do the research on the country you have been assigned that will give you the knowledge you need to be that expert. Open the online worksheet linked below and make a copy of it. Then begin answering the questions as they relate to your assigned country. This completed worksheet will be due in your shared folder for a grade on Monday, March 9.
While I'm Away... Consuming Kids
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and while I'm gone you're going to finish our marketing unit by watching the documentary Consuming Kids on Thursday and Friday. You'll have guided questions to work through as you watch, and those will be due on Tuesday, Feb. 17 when I get back. I hope you enjoy the film, and I look forward to discussing it with you next Tuesday.
Exhibition Night Redux
Great job everyone! From what I saw, this was the best Exhibition Night we have ever had at Voyager Academy High School. Very well done everyone. I did not get the chance to go to many other rooms and see what had going on, but everything I heard from other faculty and parents was that it was great. And a big thank you to all of the students who worked at the various stations for my class: you were fantastic! Night of Plays, Immersion Scholarship Fund, and ASPCA all brought in over $50 each; and Into the Woods actually brought in over $500! Mr. Draughon even used a video made through our class as a part of his presentation to families considering Voyager Academy High School earlier in the night. I'd say that all the activities that happened through our class were a huge success, and it was all thanks to you guys. So thanks again for your hard work--I hope you had fun at Exhibition Night as well.
Students will get the chance to do real marketing for real things at Exhibition Night, Wednesday, February 11. Some of the things they will be developing slogans, signs, and web strategies for include our Spring Musical Into the Woods, the Night of Plays on March 5th, an Immersion Scholarship Fund, a charity of the students' choice (TBD), and even Voyager Academy High School itself. See the project rubric below:
Charity Picker Voting
Last semester you submitted your nomination for what Charity we should sponsor at the end of the year for our Business Fair. Now is your time to vote! Click on the link below to vote for your favorite of our Top 7 Charities. Bonus--we'll even start helping to raise money for them next week at Exhibition Night on Wednesday, Feb. 11!
Unit 6 Test: Friday, Jan. 30
Our Unit 6 Test is coming up on Friday, Jan. 30. Students should prepare by reviewing their notes. They can also use the Study Guide linked below to help them review. I recommend going through the study guide and trying to define the terms and answer the questions--if students run into problems, they should check in their notes to try and find the answers. When the study guide is complete, they should compare what they have written with what is in their notes to ensure their understanding is correct. Students who go through this process should be in a position to perform well on the test. Of course, if students have any questions at all, the should bring them up during review sessions in class the coming week, or they can always come and see me after school also.
Business Presentation Project
Starting in February, and ending in May, students will be presenting on a business of their choice to their classes. They will present as a representative of the business, and they will present as if they were presenting to a group of potential investors. Their goal will be both to 1) Educate their audience about the business (it's past, present, and future), and 2) to Persuade/Convince their audience that their company would be a wise investment for the future.
Preparing a presentation like this requires work, so steps will be structured to help make sure students are making progress on their preparations as their presentation date nears. They will have no fewer (and perhaps more) than 4 days in class over the next month to work on the project. Some of those days will be focused on Research, at least one will be focused on Scripting, and another on building the Presentation Slideshow itself. In addition to these in-class preparation days, each student will also have a Rehearsal scheduled after school one day with a Presentation Coach, where they can practice their completed presentation and get some helpful feedback. Rehearsals will always be at least a week ahead of their actual presentation date, in order to allow them sufficient time to make any changes or improvements they would need to make. Every student should be prepared to present on the very first presentation date, even if their actual presentation date isn't until May. The project grade for this assignment will go on the 4th Quarter. Please see the Project Rubric and Flow Chart Below:
Just for Fun: Spent
Now that the Exam is over, relax and play a game. Spent is an online game that lets students practice the kinds of financial decisions people really face each day. This game also helps show the plight of people who live in poverty.
Still Under Construction: Invest Like a Teenager
So the Public Presentation part of our Unit 4 Investment Portfolio Project are the Investment Blogs/Vlogs; and the way those are going public is through a website I'm still finishing. Feel free to check out the work in progress, and students, if I still don't have your correct Blog/Vlog link, use the online form below to register your link now.
Midterm Exam Review: Lots of Resources
There are many effective ways to review for next week's exam:
Hour of Code
Today, Wednesday, Dec. 10, all of Voyager Academy--from Kindergarten to 12th grade--will participate in the Hour of Code: a nationwide initiative designed to expose students to computer programing basics. Our goal will be for each student to complete at least one online coding tutorial during business class. Of course, if some students finish it quickly, they are welcome to try another.
Midterm Exams: Dec. 17-19
Midterms Exams are almost here. See the Course Calendar linked to the right to see the exact date of your (or your student's) exam. I recommend students spend some time every day between now and the exams studying and preparing. Just reading over notes usually is not enough--ideally they need to be quizzed on the information, so they can practice having to recall it. Linked below is a study guide for my Midterm Exam. If students know the meaning and importance of each word, and can fully answer every question, they should be in a position to do very well on the midterm exam. I have also given them some extra incentive to do it--I will give up to 6 Bonus Points on the Midterm Exam for students who turn in complete, accurate, handwritten study guides. I have already given every student a paper copy, but the here is an electronic copy also:
Charity Picker Assignment
In this assignment, students will nominate a Charity of their choosing to be the official beneficiary of our 2015 Business Fair that will be held later in the Spring. During that fair, at least 10% of all profits will be donated to the charity that is voted on by the students. This assignment will determine the top ten, which will later be voted on. Have fun nominating your favorite charity! This assignment will be due in your shared folder on Monday, Dec. 8.
Article: My Philanthropic Pledge
Today we'll read a letter written by Mr. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in America, and in the whole world, about why he decided to give away 99% of his wealth before or at his death. A very interesting read. If you missed class, see the article below, and again, complete the Article Analysis Form on it for a homework grade. This will be collected on Monday, Dec. 8.
Article Analysis: Wealthy People
Today in class we read articles about wealthy people and reflected on them. If you were out, or if you just need to look at the articles again to complete your refection forms, please see the articles and reflection form below:
Letter to Future Self
In Unit 5 we will begin saying goodbye to our 1st semester on Personal Finance. We will look at topics like Debt, Wealth and Charity; and look back at everything else we've learned and ask "How then shall we live?" As we've said all year, the things we've learned in class matter, and will be useful to you one day. One big problem, however; is that day might still be a long way off.
So to finish off our study of Personal Finance, you will be writing a letter to your future self. You will use official Business Letter Format, and you will, among other things, try to remind your future self about some of the most important things you learned way back during the first semester of your freshman year. If everything goes according to plans, you will actually receive this letter sometime in the Spring of 2018, just a month or two before you're scheduled to graduate high school and truly begin your adult life.
So pay attention to the rubric so that you make a good grade, but also try to have some fun with it. See if you can make your future self laugh. Or really go for it and see if you can make them cry! Maybe you could actually inspire them at a time when they really need it. But at the very least, you can remind them of some of the significant things you've learned so far this year in Business class. The first draft will be due on Thurs, Dec. 4 for a Peer Editing grade, and the Final Draft will be due in a self addressed envelope on Thurs, Dec. 11.
Investment Blog/Vlog Link (url) Registration:
Complete the form linked below. You will enter in the link to your Investment Blog/Vlog, and this is how I will view your Blog/Vlog to grade your work. Remember, your completed Blog/Vlog is due on Monday, Dec. 1 (the first day we are back at school after Thanksgiving Break).
Unit 4 Review
See the links below for Practice Questions and a Review Game that will help you get ready for Friday's Unit 4 Test:
Investment Portfolio Blog/Vlog
So now that you're dabbling in the stock market others may want to read or hear about your adventures, misfortunes, funny stories, and lessons learned. They may even want your advice on companies to buy and companies to stay away from. So you will be creating your own Investment Blog (or Vlog, for all you aspiring Youtubers out there). So have fun with it, and make it quality--it will be published and distributed to a real audience. The first Blog/Vlog Post will be due on Monday, Dec. 1, the day we come back from Thanksgiving Break. See the rubric and example below:
Unit 4 Test Study Guide
Unit 4's Test is this coming Friday, Nov. 21. See the Unit 4 Study Guide below. Students should know all of the terms (their meaning and their significance) and be able to answer all of the questions. If they know all of that information, they should be able to perform well on the test. Studying for tests is important, and should include more than just reading over the notes the night before. Daily review for several days before the test, actively asking questions about things that are not fully understood, and trying to replicate test-like scenarios (where you have to produce answers without looking at notes) are the most effective ways to study. I've also included a "Flashcard Kit" to help you make flashcards to help you review some of the key terms from this unit. Come and see me after school on Tuesday or Thursday if you have questions or would like to review.
What's Your Retirement Number?
In this mini-project, students will research to find an estimate of the amount of money they should be trying to save up for their own retirement. Following the instructions on the linked document below, they will use multiple web resources to help them determine their answers. This assignment will be due in your shared folders on Monday, Nov. 17.
Mutual Funds & Index Funds (ETF's)
Now that you know that Mutual Funds and Index Funds are shortcuts to diversification in your portfolio, I want you to include at least 5 of them into your Investment Portfolio. Feel free to do your own research (there's lots of information about this out there), but the link below will also provide you some ideas on top performing funds and EFT's from the past 3 years. You must have 5 Mutual Funds/ETF's in your Investment Portfolio by Thursday, Nov. 13.
Stock Picker Round 2
Now that you've got your own (fake) investment portfolios with actual (fake) stocks in them, now it's time to branch out into more stocks that you might not have thought about before. My guess is your first ten stock picks focused on two main areas: Technology, and Consumer Goods. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with AAPL and MCD, but what about other ares of the economy? Healthcare? Financials? Industrial Goods? Don't limit yourself to food, clothes and phones. In Stock Picker Round 2 you'll use a web resource linked on the document below to help you scout out some new areas of the market. Stock Picker Round 2 will be due in your shared folders on Weds., Nov. 12.
Investment Portfolio Project
Students will create and manage their own investment portfolios for the rest of the school year. They are of course not graded on the performance of their investments, but on the process of managing the portfolio, and reflecting on its performance. However, students should be motivated to do as well as they can and manage their portfolios to be as profitable as possible, as the winner at the end of the year will receive a cash prize of real money!
Students will click on the appropriate link below to sign up for the class period where they have Business. They will then sign up for an account (they should use the same email account they use for their Google Drive, and a password they will certainly remember--because I will never know it, so I cannot help them if they forget). They will need a password from me to participate in our class's competition, and I will provide that during class. Once they're in, they're free to start trading and making money!
In this assignment students will begin preparing for our Investment Portfolio Project by researching some stocks and making some stock picks based on criteria we have talked about in class. Students should have this completed in their shared folders by the start of class on Friday, Nov. 7.
Article: Can Monkeys Pick Stocks Better than Experts?
This article tells the story of how the Wall Street Journal (a famous financial publication) attempted to test one economist's theory about the quality of service that stock brokers provide. We'll try to reproduce their experiment in class to see if we reach similar results.
Unit 3 Test: Study Guide, Review Game, Practice Questions
See the link to the Unit 3 Study Guide below. If students understand all the terms and how they relate to the unit, and can answer all the questions fully and completely, they should be in a position to do well on the test. The Quia Review Game gives the students an interesting way to review and see questions like the ones they might see on Friday's test. Our Unit 3 Test will be on Friday, Oct. 31.
Family Budget Project
Students will work together in groups to create a working family budget, where every dollars gets budgeted (spent) on paper, so they have a plan for where all their money will go. They will randomly draw for the size of their families and their monthly incomes, which will of course affect their final monthly budget. There will be three rounds, and each round will add new elements into the budget. At the end of the week, each group member will evaluate each other on how they worked on the project.
Teenage Budget Assignment
In this assignment, students will practicing managing the fair flexible budget of a 17 year old. They have two key objectives: 1) Make sure they spend all their monthly income on paper for each month (much of it can go to savings), 2) Budget so that they will have at least $250 available to them in savings during the months of November and April. After completing the budget form to meet these objectives, students will write a reflection on the back side of the page (10 sentence minimum). This assignment will be collected for a grade on Friday, Oct. 24.
Bad News for some: Apparently Weebly won't work for DP's
So completely unbeknownst to me, Weebly has imposed new restrictions on their Free Memberships, limiting them to no more than 5 pages that can be published to the web. Obviously that won't work long-term as place to host your Digital Portfolios. So I'm very sorry, but if you've been working on a DP on Weebly, I advise you to stop and switch to Google Sites. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Digital Portfolio Link Registration:
Complete the form linked below. You will enter in the link to your DP, and this is how I (and perhaps other teachers) will view your Digital Portfolios to grade you on this, and other future projects.
Digital Portfolio Kickoff/Reboot!
Some of you have been working on these things for years, and some of you have no idea what one is, but by the end of the week every student will have one, and have at least one project posted onto it.
In short, Digital Portfolios (DP's) are a way for you to document and archive your work in a way that might become useful later. In the past I've heard of college admissions officers asking to see a student's digital portfolio while they review a student's application. I've also heard of certain scholarships asking to review something like a DP. Even if neither a college admission officer nor a scholarship ever asks to see your DP, you can be sure your teachers at Voyager will. These are a requirement, and at the very least they help you to practice web publishing skills.
This week you will either create or "reboot" your DP (bring it into High School), as well as post at least one project from Business class according to my standard DP rubric. Your DP and Project Post will be due by Friday, Oct. 3.
In case you missed it: Voices of Student Debt
Article: Getting a Clearer Picture of College Costs
Maybe private schools aren't as expensive as they seem???
Article Analysis: Is College Worth it?
Given all our discussions on the cost of college, I thought we should look at some outside perspectives on the topic. Read the articles below so we can discuss:
Career & College Presentation Project
Now that Students have all completed their primary research on future careers they might be interested in, what colleges might help them to get there, and what those colleges might cost; now students will work to create a presentation that summarizes their findings. At the end of the week, they will present their presentations to their parents or guardians, who will be helping me grade. See the rubrics and example below. A completed draft of the presentation will be due in class for peer review on Thursday, Sept. 25. The final version of the presentation is to be given to your families over the weekend, and the Parent/Guardian Rubric will be due on Monday or Tuesday, Sept. 29 or 30 (depending on which day you have my class).
College & Career Research
To kick off Unit 2: "How do I Pay for College?" we will begin by letting students do their own research on careers they are interested in, and in colleges that could actually help them to be qualified to work in those careers. Students should click on the link below, make a copy for themselves, and then complete it from start to finish. This document will be due in shared folders by by the start of class Wednesday, Sept. 17.
Part 2: Now that you've isolated your top three schools--schools that could help you to achieve the careers you're interested in--we're going to research to find out the exact costs of actually going there! Research on the schools' websites to find the actual total costs. Use the Part 2 document below and follow the instructions. The completed College Cost Projections & Reflection is due in shared folders by Friday, Sept. 19.
Unit 1 Test Friday, Sept. 12--Study Guide
We're finally there, our first Test of the year in Business class. Students are encouraged to review their notes, complete all review activities, and go through the study guide in preparation for the test. The test will be taken using an online platform, Quia.com, that students will be introduced to this week. So it is very important that students bring their computers and chargers to school on Thursday (when we will practice with the system), and especially on Friday, Sept. 12, when we take the test. Please see the Study Guide below:
Car Shopper Project
Students will now put their car shopping skills to use for real people in the real world. They will be assigned a Buyer, and will need to shop for that buyer based on the buyer's specifications for price, type of car, etc. By the end of the week, each student will have written up a short report on a car they feel reasonably meets the buyer's needs. We will then send the buyers our reports, so they can go hopefully go and see some of the cars this weekend. This project will be done mainly in class this week, and will be due (shared with Mr. Baker) on Friday, Sept. 5.
For those who missed it: Drive for Free
Dave Ramsey is a well known radio and TV personality, who specializes in personal finance and entrepreneurship. I don't agree with him on everything, but I thought this was a pretty interesting video released by his team. It's about a different approach to paying for cars, and I thought it was nice and relevant to what we've been talking about in class. I only have one major issue with what they're saying--can you figure out what that one problem might be? Even with that potential problem, I still think the concept is strong. Enjoy.
Dream Car Evaluation
Now that we've all seen and heard about your Dream Car, it's time to see what it would actually look like to become the owner of that dream. You will use various resources on the web to find your dream car for real, in the real world, for sale, as nearby as possible. Maybe it's for sale at a dealership, maybe it's posted for sale on Craigslist, or somewhere else. Then you will note the asking price, and evaluate it vs. what the experts at Kelly Blue Book, and other "fair price" websites say. Given that most of us cannot afford our dream cars anytime soon, you will finish out this assignment by finding a "Reasonable Alternative" to your dream car--something nearby in the area that you might actually be able to afford sometime in the next few years. Use the Form below to walk you through this exercise, and be sure to answer all of the questions thoroughly. This assignment will be due in student shared folders by Friday, August 29th.
Dream Car Presentation
To kick off our first real unit, Unit 1: How do I buy a Car?, students will do a short, simple presentation on the car of their dreams. See the presentation linked below for an explanation, a rubric, and an example of what the presentation might look like. Each student will present their short presentation in our next class on Monday/Tuesday. Therefore, each student's completed Dream Car Presentation needs to be in their Shared Folders by Monday/Tuesday, August 25/26.
S.M.A.rT. Goals Project
Students will use the template below to create at least 5 S.M.A.rT. Goals for themselves. At least two of the goals need to apply to school (as that is much of what we have talked about in this unit), and at least three of the goals need to be set to happen during this current school year (2014-2015). Extra Credit is available for students who send me a picture of themselves with a parent/guardian and their completed, printed-out goals sheet, posted somewhere they will see it everyday. A completed version of their Goals Sheet needs to be in each student's Shared Folder on Wednesday, August 27.
Setting Up a Shared Folder
In class today we will be setting up Shared Folders through your Google (Gmail) account. This will be the way you turn in electronic assignments this year. We'll try to do it together, but just incase you can't make it today, or if you forgot your computer and needed to do it later, here are the step by step instructions:
Student Introduction Email Assignment
Using what they have learned about proper Email Etiquette, students will write an email introducing themselves to me, and send it to my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). The email will need to be received by Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Success Interviews and Reflection
As students begin their High School careers, we are beginning by looking at Success--how to get it, what it is, and if there's any secret to it or not. To gain more perspective on these issues, students will briefly interview at least 3 adults on these questions, and then reflect on what they learned and what their own opinions are. The completed interviews and reflections will be due Friday, Aug. 22.
Parent/Guardian Contact Info Form
Your first assignment is a very easy one. Take the Parent/Guardian Contact Info form home to your family and have them fill it out. Bring it back Wednesday for a simple homework grade. If you lose your paper copy, you can print out and extra copy for yourself as it's linked below. Also, if any Parents/Guardians are willing to fill out the form online, that form is linked here too:
Welcome Class of 2018!
Welcome to Voyager Academy--we're glad to have you! Please be sure to Bookmark this website (both Students and Parents) as it will be a frequently used resource in class this year.
Much for info to come, but for now a couple of things you can do to get ready for the start of school:
1 working Google (gmail) account that will function as their school email
1 set of working headphones
1 one-inch 3-ring notebook
2 packs of notebook dividers (at least 10 dividers)
1 journal/notepad/notebook to be a Homework/Assignments Journal/Notebook (will be used for all classes, not just Business)
I'm excited and looking forward to the year ahead of us. Thanks, and see you Monday!