Thursday, April 26, 2018

Use the Expanded Core to Teach Financial Literacy

Teach Financial Literacy Skills and Expanded Core Curriculum

A major part of independent living skills in the Expanded Core is money management. Money management skills are part of financial literacy. All youth need solid financial literacy skills for adulthood. We all know what happens when you don’t have good money skills! 

Many of our students receive ECC money management skills in terms of money identification skills. For example, folding money and using apps to identify it. However, there is so much more that our students need! Let’s incorporate the other ECC skills areas to help build a solid financial literacy skills foundation!

I recently started a distance education program with our school. The students do a majority of their learning at home and attend sessions over distance ed technology with me. They also come to campus for two full days of intensive hands on learning. 

I didn’t want to recreate the wheel with writing a financial literacy program for students. That can be super time consuming! I researched several programs and came away with a winner: Orange Owl Academy! There are several solid financial literacy programs but Orange Owl covered areas that many programs lacked. Orange Owl covered growth mindset, comparison of costs and had the most opportunities to implement ECC skills (beyond money management). 

Here’s an example of how I infused ECC: There is a section in the program where Teacher Taylor from Orange Owl asks students to think about their future home. I was able to implement transition skills, career ed and orientation and mobility into this whole session because we discussed transportation considerations, roommate living and access to work. 
Orange Owl has all videos that are accessible and a workbook. The workbook was a bit of a challenge for converting to .brf files (there were a lot of tables) but thanks to my faithful colleague, Becky who converted everything. We had a fully accessible workbook. 

We spent two full days on campus and that is where we targeted blindness specific skills. I also brought in some young adult blind mentors who helped lend some experience, tips and tricks for my students. 

The price for Orange Owl is $69.97. Our school paid for the subscription. The bonus is that our students and their family could do this together. We invited parents and siblings to do the course. The distance ed piece were weekly Zoom (like Skype) meetings. We did Orange Owl + the Expanded Core for 8 weeks. Each weeks has a theme that works with the Orange Owl curriculum. The Expanded Core piece is based on the EVALS assessment and the skills from the ECC. 

As the teacher, using the Orange Owl Academy curriculum helped me to focus on the ECC. I didn’t need to recreate the wheel with what financial skills to teach. It was a great partnering for me as I had students from all over the state participate in the program. 

Are you ready for the best news? 
I have spoken with Teacher Taylor from Orange Owl and we would love to invite more students to join! Families or schools will buy the subscription and can do the Expanded Core work with me. Please contact me, for more details. The Financial Academy can be done year round. I had some students who were able to get school credit for this. 

Here is the link for Orange Owl Academy to check out the program: