Katrina's Classroom Gets an Update, Joins the Classroom Economist

Many teachers of personal finance and economics are already familiar with the Atlanta Fed's original DVD-based personal finance curriculum centered on the 2005 hurricane. The innovative approach of Katrina's Classroom: Financial Lessons from a Hurricane is that it teaches financial preparedness, budgeting, banking, saving, and the wise use of credit through the stories of three teens who lived through the storm. Because of these teens' stories and the lessons they learned, Katrina's Classroom's messages about financial responsibility particularly resonate with students, who can relate to the lives of the young storytellers.

This year, we are updating each segment in this four-part series with new lessons and technology-based resources as part of the Classroom Economist project; we began with the first-quarter issue of that publication. "Lesson 1: Katrina Strikes" and "Lesson 2: In the Aftermath" have already been revised and are available online. The revisions of the remaining two lessons will be available at the end of September and December, respectively.

Lesson 1 begins by showing students that financial planning and preparation are important not only for natural disasters, but also for managing your money in general. Setting goals and distinguishing between wants and needs are important steps to creating a sound financial foundation. The revised Lesson 1, available in SMART Board and PowerPoint format, gives teachers new tools to accompany the video content. Included in the update are a narrated presentation, a resources guide that includes a vast library of links to publications and websites that give a better understanding of banking and financial decisions, a comprehensive list of links and materials related to emergency preparedness, and tips for using natural disasters as a teaching tool. The "Test Your Knowledge" feature is a PowerPoint-based assessment that teachers can use in the classroom, as a tool for their own learning, or for supplemental assignments to enrich the lesson.

"Lesson 2: In the Aftermath" teaches the skills necessary for managing important financial documents for understanding the basics about financial institutions. Students learn the importance of having an emergency fund, the types of bank accounts available, and why it is important to establish a banking relationship. The lesson also introduces the ABCs of writing and depositing a check, using ATM and debit cards, and understanding online and mobile banking. Included are tips for managing a bank account. This lesson is also available in both SMART and PowerPoint formats, and teachers can use the narrated presentation and "Test Your Knowledge" quiz in the classroom, as a tool for their own learning, or for supplemental assignments to enrich the lesson.  An extensive resources guide includes lessons and links, role plays, brochures, publications, workbooks, videos, online chats, and many other tools to reinforce the concepts.

In September and December, look for the updates to "Lesson 3: A Fresh Start," which focuses on the wise use of credit cards, and "Lesson 4: Back to School," whose topic is budgeting and the importance of education.

By Lesley Mace, economic and financial education specialist with the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta