Tamra Carl is an AP Economics teacher at York Community High School. Tamra has a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and a M.Ed. from DePaul University. Tamra Carl has been teaching AP Economics for 17 years at York Community HS, Hinsdale Central High School, and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. She has been greatly inspired by her mentor, James Chasey, who showed her the impact student engagement can have on learning economics. Tamra has contributed to the AP Economics community through her contributions to D&S Publishing and participation with the College Board as an AP Reader and Presenter.
- What interested you in Econ Beats as an assignment? - I am always looking for ways to engage students in Economics. This is a fun and creative ways for students to become experts in a specific topic as they collaborate to write a song and produce a music video.
- Could you describe how you incorporated the project into your class? - I made this project part of their AP Microeconomics final exam grade. I weighted it equal with their written exam.
- Can you reflect on your students' experiences and what they learned? - My students benefited greatly from Econ Beats. Firstly, they had to reflect over their AP Microeconomics course to determine a topic that they wanted to write a song about. Secondly, as a group they had think about the important components of that topic. Thirdly, I let them know that I would be extremely critical of their explanations. Meaning, as economic ambassadors, it was our job to properly explain economics (i.e. a change in price causes a movement along the demand curve, not a shift). Fourthly, they realized how creative they were! Just as with comparative advantage, specialization is important with Econ Beats. Some students are good writers, some are good singers, and others are great film editors. I required that all students be involved, but if there were certain aspects that fit their abilities, to capitalize on that
- Require everyone in the class to do it. I teach multiple classes, so I let students works in groups of 4-6 with people from any of those classes. I had a group of smart, shy girls who I knew would write great lyrics. They had no clue on how to edit/produce their film. They outsourced it to a music teacher at school who helped them. It was a great learning experience for them and fun for our music teacher. the broadcasting communications teacher was also very supportive of a couple groups. It was also fun to watch the personalities of these students in the music videos because you don't always see that in class.
- Give students enough time. Students are busy, so giving them time to plan is necessary. I encouraged them to film outside of school to make it more interesting.
- Have a rubric and build in a grading component for students to assess other students and hold them accountable. I had each student fill out a form where they not only gave me feedback on what they thought of the assignment, but for them to also give me feedback on the contributions of their group members...nobody likes a free rider!