Sunday, January 2, 2011

Skyping with Experts: The Stock Market with Tisa Silver, MBA

In my previous post I discussed ways that I used Skype to connect my classes with other gifted/talented learners across the nation. I also use Skype to provide my students with the experience of speaking directly with experts across different fields. This gives them first hand insight into their professions as well as encourages students to start thinking about their own future careers. For the next few months, I will be documenting our chats with experts. This series will outline activities done during our chats to engage students in discussions related to our current unit. Our journey begins with the stock market. . .

As part of our money unit, my objective was to cover the Stock Market and investing options. I was surprised to discover that my students’ thought that the Stock Market was another form of bartering. Like most of the country, they didn’t know how Wall Street applied to their lives. That’s where our expert came in. Thanks to my husband, I was able to contact Tisa Silver, MBA, founder of the non-profit Good Works Coalition, author of The Time Value of Life: Why Time is More Valuable than Money, and professor at the University of Delaware’s Alfred E. Lerner College of Business & Economics, to speak to my class.

Tisa presented the Stock Market in very kid friendly terms. She started her presentation by showing my students products that they see every day and had them think about the companies that make those products. This activity showed my students that stocks were found in their daily lives and in the items that they purchase. I really liked how Tisa had students think about what items or services they use on a daily basis before considering buying stock from those companies.

Next, Tisa asked for a volunteer. She greeted our student and created a fictional business for him. She told the story of how he opened his own pizza parlor and how business was going great for him. Next, she asked for another volunteer. After greeting the next student, she explained how this student visited Student A’s Pizza Parlor and saw a rat. She asked Student B how this experience influenced her decision to return or buy pizza from Student A’s Parlor. Of course, Student B was disgusted by the experience and did not think it was a good idea to get more pizza from there. After explaining this scenario, Tisa discussed examples of how bad news can have a negative effect on stock prices. This activity was a wonderful way to illustrate how current events or the news and media can affect stock prices.

The remainder of the chat was spent on discussing why some stock prices were worth more than others and where to buy stock. Tisa offered some tips on buying stock and basic terms to know. Students also had the opportunity to ask questions about the Stock Market at the end of the presentation.

My students gained a lot from this experience. Tisa did a wonderful job of explaining the purpose behind the stock market and how stocks are present in students’ lives. After this activity, my students were eager to research companies and some even mentioned their interest in buying stock.

Skyping with experts will be a regular occurrence in my classroom. After every experience, I will share what we have done on this blog. In January, I will start my Business Leaders unit and have some exciting experts scheduled to talk about starting a business, personal branding, and assessing one's individual strengths. Please feel free to stop by and see what surprises I have for my students!

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