Coweta County’s middle school social studies teachers began their school year by enhancing their knowledge of economics, right here in Coweta County.

22 Coweta county sixth and seventh grade social studies teachers attended a workshop sponsored by the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE), held August 18 at the school system’s Werz Drive central office. The “Economics in World Studies” workshop was facilitated by Michael Raymer, Economics Program Manager at Georgia State University.

The one-day seminar focused on the three major concepts of economics in world studies: Types of Economic Systems, Economic Growth and Development, and International Trade. The topics covered are important to their students, teachers said.

“25 percent of the CRCT (the state’s Criterion Referenced Competency Test) is on economics,” said Pam Ridge, an Arnall Middle School teacher who attended the workshop. “We were provided with ways to teach that engage our students while providing practical lessons which will benefit them throughout their lives.”

The seminar was arranged locally by school system Secondary Grades Director Barbara Louis, who is the EconomicsAmerica Coordinator for GCEE. Louis has scheduled another locally-sponsored economics seminar this December for eighth grade teachers. Teachers from other districts will be invited to join teachers in Coweta County during that workshop, said Louis.

Professional development to enhance teachers’ knowledge of subject matter or provide teaching strategies and materials is important, but opportunities are often difficult to find or attend for teachers. The locally-held seminar was a boon to the Coweta teachers who participated.

“It was one of the best workshops that I have attended,’ said Evans Middle school 6th Grade social studies teacher Todd Borngesser. “The presenter was amazing. We received a disk with many teacher resources and a flash drive with over 1400 usable lessons,” covering topics such as globalization, economic interdependence, scarcity and how those concepts influence people in their daily lives.

“The workshop covered the importance in worldwide trade in an environment of limited productive resources,” said Madras Middle School teacher Patti Blair. “The workshop tied the instruction and materials directly to the Georgia Performance Standards for economics for 6th and 7th grade teachers. GCEE is the forerunner for hands-on instructional materials for students that is both educational and engaging. I use the materials provided by GCEE for each regional economic unit in 6th grade social studies.”

The workshop also “used cartograms and maps to illustrate and compare the productivity and GDPs of the world regions. It really put into perspective global interdependence and differences in world resources and productivity,” said Arnall’s Ridge.

“I have been privileged to attend several workshops sponsored by the Council,” said Ridge. She attended one co-sponsored and held at the Japanese Consulate in Atlanta last year, and has also attended GCEE seminars at Berry College and at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

Ridge has also attended seminars presented earlier by Raymer, who is former economics teacher who lives in Peachtree City. He and other presenters with GCEE “are down to earth and teacher friendly… The materials we receive, which include CD’s with power points and lesson plans, are invaluable. I am very grateful to the GCEE and our school system for providing this opportunity to us as social studies teachers, and I know the benefits will be passed to our students.

Arnall Middle School teacher Pam Ridge – shown here in her 7th grade classroom – was one of several Coweta County teachers who participated in a locally-held August 18 economics seminar for teachers presented by the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE). The seminar was organized in Coweta County by school system Secondary Curriculum Director Barbara Louis.