In the Classroom with AP Econ Teacher & College Counsellor Michael Brody
Educators / March 26, 2015
Imagine that moment when a student “gets it”—the lightbulb goes off and (s)he understands hard concepts for the first time. Real-world examples can help illuminate complex ideas in memorable ways, and that’s the goal of most of the articles in Michael Brody‘s Flipboard magazine, Things AP Econ Students Should Know.
“If you need a supply-and-demand example for class, it’s not hard to find: you can find one every day on the Commodities page of the WSJ,” says Brody, an AP economics teacher at Menlo School, a high school in Atherton, California. “But when you need an article on the Coase Theorem, that’s not so easy to find. So I curate real-life examples of economic concepts so I can reference them each year—and they’re more memorable for my students. It’s also great to push them out to teachers in other schools so they can use it in their classrooms, too.”
Brody has used his Flipboard magazine since 2012 as an “ad hoc” companion in class, projecting it in the classroom or instructing students to open to specific articles for discussion. He said the magazine has even replaced their summer reading book. Now students get to pick four articles in the magazine and answer related questions.
In addition to being an econ teacher, Brody is also a college counsellor at the school. Naturally, he has a magazine for that role (Menlo School’s College Knowledge) but this time his primary audience is parents.
“People are so desperate for information about what seems to them like a blackbox college-admission process,” explains Brody. “There’s a lot of bad information and rumor, and the information out there is changing very quickly. Plus, there’s a lot of sensationalism: people sell magazines by publishing ranking lists that are sensationalized. And there are websites that contain crowd-sourced info on college admissions, where a lot of people speak with authority but actually they have no expertise of any kind.”
So Brody and the college counseling team try to set the record straight by flipping in articles that they think are noteworthy. “If we don’t provide this information, it makes my job harder,” he says. Brody acts as the magazine’s main curator but parents also send him articles for consideration, and he selects other pieces shared on professional groups he belongs to on Facebook.
Finally, Brody makes sure that his community knows that the magazine is a resource for them: There’s a link to it in the school’s newsletter and every presentation has “a plug to follow our magazine.”
You can follow Brody’s Flipboard magazines right here.