In a Time of AI, How Do You Teach Practical Skills? 

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As the world changes, so do the skills that students need to learn, right? Well… sort of.  Families often share feedback that the emphasis on new skills and academics leaves their kids without the practical skills they need to get by in life after school.  

Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, identifies ways for students to learn and practice life skills at school. 

Twenty-five years ago, almost every middle or high school student took a home economics course. They learned to cook and sew and use basic tools, equipping them with skills to thrive after graduation.  However, those classes don’t happen as much anymore, and as a result, families report that kids often can’t manage the basics of life beyond the classroom.

We’ve collected a set of ideas to bring practical skills into already packed school schedules, while ensuring kids can have fun at the same time!

Enhance Your Curriculum With Practical Skills

Build Financial Literacy Into Math Classes

Integrate financial literacy education into math or economics classes. Teach students the practical skills of budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, and how to balance their bank accounts. You can find free ideas here

Tip: Have students manage a household budget as a long-term project for a semester or have them save up for a fictional vacation. They need to do the research, decide what they’d like to do, then plan their budget and spending. 

Make Gym + PE = Wellness

Offer health and wellness programs to promote physical and mental well-being. 

Tip: Host a 10,000-step challenge, before-school meditation opportunities or have students use a physical activity tracker. Developing these personal practices help students connect how a healthy mind and body support their academic success.