Posted: Thu, 04/28/2016 - 2:58pm Updated: Thu, 01/12/2017 - 9:05am

Featured Teacher

John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Awards

Gina BoydThe Council for Economic Education recently recognized Mrs. Gina Boyd, NBCT, for her work with Purdue University’s Center for Economic Education. Mrs. Boyd received the John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award presented at their annual conference held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Anything but a novice award winner for expertise in teaching, Mrs. Boyd has previously been awarded the regional Olin W. Davis Award for Exemplary Teaching of Economics in both 2009 and 2013.  Additionally, she was named a Golden Apple Teacher by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce in 2011. 

In an effort to implement a system that would genuinely incentivize positive behaviors, Gina introduced the then popular mini economy system within her classroom as early as 2000. Even though the mini economy remains the foundation of classroom management, it is now merely the tip of the economic education her students encounter in two years. 

Once the basic principles of economic education are in place, Mrs. Boyd’s 4th and 5th grade students grow adept at doubling as business owners.  During the second semester, students research and brainstorm product samples.  They then present their ideas, and those ideas are put to a vote.  The results of the class vote determine which five products will be produced. Students then rank their favorite products 1 – 5, with 1 being the favorite.  These results align students with the production team, and companies are established. Class companies then select business names, and the work begins!

Each company identifies the necessary natural, human and capital resources.  Once created, the capital resources list doubles as a shopping list.  Members of each business, accompanied by parent helpers, also known as human resources, meet Mrs. Boyd on a Saturday at a local store and purchase everything they will need for production.  Students, or rather business owners, quickly realize their product price will impact profit and creatively decide how and where to improvise.  

One by one, companies visit the underclassmen (second and third graders) to conduct market research that assists in price setting.  The younger students are polled to see if they would pay a low price for an item.  Like auctioneers, business owners survey their customers, “Would you pay .25 cents for this handy dandy clipboard (fill in said product name)? How about .50 cents?  How about $1.00?” By incrementally increasing the asking price, they determine how high they can actually raise the price while still turning a profit. Once the maximum asking price is realized, projected profit can be calculated. Economic terms like supply, demand and scarcity become more than vocabulary words to be scored in the matching section of an assessment.  Such words, along with creating and managing a budget, actually spark genuine discussion between students because what they are doing is beyond a story problem.  It is the story problem of real life!

A lesson in marketing comes next.  By designing posters to advertise their items within the school, business owners showcase their chosen products, not to mention creativity and art skills.  Students don’t miss the opportunity to market to those at home by creating take home flyers for every family in the school. 

All production occurs during one week, and volunteers, typically eager parents and relatives, are recruited for assistance on the production line.  Upon completion, the hallways outside the cafeteria are set up as sales displays and opened for business during the lunch periods. The close of the school week marks the end of the sales week.  All that’s left to do is wrap up loose ends and calculate the profits made.  Incidentally, one year’s profit helps generate next year’s project…..kind of like paying it forward.

Over time, Mrs. Boyd has implemented a few rules and some norms that help keep things somewhat manageable.  One such rule is the product must be able to be made within the confines of the classroom with the supplies that are available.  Another obvious parameter is that there is no heat source, so certain craft items that require heat are out!  After years of operation and not dissimilar to how the rest of her classes operate, Mrs. Boyd’s business week runs like a well-oiled machine.  A true hallmark of a veteran teacher.

TSC educator wins national economics teaching award

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) has awarded Mayflower Mill 4/5 high ability teacher Gina Boyd the John Morton Excellence in Teaching Award. This national award recognizes Boyd for her excellent service in providing after-school teacher workshops for the Purdue Center for Economic Education, and exemplifying the importance of economic and financial education to the future success of her students.

Boyd will receive the award at the 55th Annual Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference October 7 in Phoenix, Arizona. Boyd has been a teacher for 24 years, 16 of those years with the Tippecanoe School Corporation at Mayflower Mill. As a teacher advocate, she facilitates workshops at Purdue to demonstrate to other teachers how to incorporate economic education into their own elementary school classrooms. Boyd holds a bachelor’s degree from Lipscomb University and a gifted and talented license from Purdue University.

Boyd integrates economic vocabulary and concepts into her classroom management, reading, writing, math, science and social studies curriculum. “In this way, I can teach thematically, connecting economics into every part of our day,” says Boyd. "Most Americans take one semester of economics in high school, so they're shocked to hear that students as young as kindergarten could grasp and benefit from economics education. My students are proof that even young children can learn about entrepreneurship and financial responsibility. Everybody benefits when these kids learn these concepts at an early age."

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) recognizes excellence in economic and financial education by honoring three national educators in the elementary, middle and high school levels with the John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Awards. This award promotes economic education at the K-12 level by recognizing and honoring inspirational teachers whose innovative teaching concepts improve and stimulate economic understanding in and out of their classrooms and achieve results. Boyd and the other two winners receive a $1,000 prize, an all-expense paid a scholarship to attend the Financial Literacy and Economic Education Conference.

Boyd's Class

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Boyd's Award 2016

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Teaching Activities

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Young boy holding a pail with math cards.

Student Businesses

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Two young boys using a grocery store self-checkout scanner.
A young person with plastic cooking cap pouring brownie mix into a mold.
Several students with plastic cooking caps lined up along a table preparing a variety of delicious dishes.
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Training Days for the Mentors

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Mentors were invited on two separate dates to receive training in assisting their teacher candidates. The first was on Saturday, January 30th and the second was Saturday, April 16th. The first training, called Indiana NBCT CSP Seminar, occurred as mentors and their teachers were just getting underway. The focus was on changes in the process since mentors had become certified as well looking at certification from a mentoring perspective. The mentors focused, enjoyed a delicious lunch and collaborated to round out the day. All were equipped with tools in the way of knowledge and materials to utilize with their teacher candidates moving forward.

The second training, structured much like the first, was called National Board Certification Homestretch Workshop. This seminar focused on components two and three: reflection on student work samples and video and analysis of teaching practice. This was a hands-on opportunity to review work with peers, receive constructive feedback and get last minute questions answered.

Thank you to Mark Shoup and Angie Miller of ISTA for collaborating and providing the training days!