Business Topics

Reflections on Teaching Business Courses

October 26, 2012
by tamara talbot

Monopoly in Accounting

To teach the entire Accounting cycle to students sometimes takes the entire first semester because of the terminology, attention to details and following a certain set of guidelines this course involves.  Students get very tired of the routine . . . learning the vocabulary, completing application problems as a class and then on their own, testing and then the entire cycle again.

What I have done in the past that helps motivate the students so they can see that Accounting can be used in real life situations is to play the game “Monopoly.”  Before students begin, we review the importance of having a chart of accounts.  Years ago, when I first started having the students play the game, I gave them a Chart of Accounts to use.  A couple of years ago, I started having the students brainstorm possible accounts needed in the five areas:  Assets, Liabilities, Income, Capital and Expenses (ALICE) and then we create the Chart of Accounts the students will use for their Monopoly game.  After reflecting on both methods, having the students create the Chart of Accounts seems to add more authenticity to the activity, even though it does take a little more time.  I will continue to have the students come up with the accounts because this may be something they may have to do, especially for themselves one day if they decide to keep track of their spending in this way.

I then hand out general journals and depending on how long we are going to play, may also include a general ledger for them to post their transactions.  I have found a Monopoly game online for the students to play.  While they are playing, the students will record their transactions in the general journal.  The students will need to analyze each transaction and decide what accounts to use when journalizing.  We have also used the board game so then the students can play together, but lack of space has been a problem in the past to accomodate playing the game this way.

Students seem to enjoy the break from the book application problems and see how they could use Accounting in real life.

October 17, 2012
by tamara talbot

Accounting Simulation

Authentic situations in teaching are what we all strive for in all the classes we teach.  Accounting students, I believe, are offered one of the best examples of authentic instruction possible for students.  Toward the end of the school year, students are given a simulation.  This simulation will cover the entire Accounting Cycle of a business.  It includes authentic source documents students will need to analyze and decide if it is a sales invoice, purchase invoice, bill or memorandum and then record the transaction in the appropriate journal and accounts.  Students will then create financial statements and determine if the company had a net profit or loss.  Completing this activity has helped many students connect the dots to what they have been learning all year.

October 17, 2012
by tamara talbot


Teaching Accounting I and Accounting II in the same class period is a challenge, especially for the Accounting II students.  Most of the time the students are left on their own to read and collaborate with other students in Accounting II to find answers to their questions.  Creating a screencast demonstrating sample problems the students will see is one method I have started using.  Students are able to watch and re-watch the demonstration to help them complete their problems.  I am hoping this will help the students feel more successful and more productive in class because they will not have to wait so long for an answer to their problem.  I will see how this works for the next three chapters and blog later on student’s reactions and comments.  Here is a link to the actual screencast.

October 7, 2012
by tamara talbot

Accounting I–Worksheet Teaching Strategy

Teaching the idea of completing a worksheet in Accounting I has always been a struggle for students to grasp and understand until I found this graphic organizer another teacher in our building used.  It fits perfectly in helping students “see” why and how a worksheet is completed.  I added a few rectangles and a box at the bottom so students could fill in the reasons why a worksheet is completed.  This is how the students take “notes” on how to complete a worksheet.  I then have them put it in their “Accounting Notebooks” which contains examples of work the students have completed.  Whenever the students have questions over how to complete the worksheet, I first have them refer to this graphic organizer and most will say “Ahhh, that’s why you had us do this.”


September 21, 2012
by tamara talbot

Debit Left, Credit Right

When teaching Accounting, it is very important for students to understand the Accounting Equation, Debits and Credits and which side is the increase side of an account and the decrease side.  If students do not grasp these concepts at the very beginning, they will struggle the entire year.  Every year I have tried to come up with ways to help the students understand and be able to apply their knowledge so they will be successful.  One item I added last year was this video:  Debit/Credit introduction video. This was created by students and my students will bring up this video often when talking about debits and credits.

Another strategy that has helped is having the students work in pairs to create flash cards.  Flash CardsAn example is shown here on the right.  I give them a list of accounts and the students decide what type of an account it is (asset, liability, owner’s equity, revenue or expense) and then have to put the debit, credit side, increase, decrease side and normal balance side on each account.  The students will then quiz each other by showing the flash cards.  These are used to begin class for a few days and then I will bring them out for review.

I have found that both of these benefit students in being able to determine the classification of an account and then how to record the transaction in the journal in later class periods.

September 20, 2012
by tamara talbot

Positive Poster–Computer Applications/Technology

PostersAt the beginning of the school year, I try to instill in the students the idea of having a positive attitude.  An assignment we used to encourage this among the students was to have them create a positive poster.  Most students like to see their work displayed and I like to have positive quotes around the room.  By having the students create their own positive posters, the room is covered with positive sayings that are meaningful to them and hopefully will encourage students throughout the time the posters are up in the classroom.

Creating the posters also involve the objectives we need the students to learn such as:  applying layering techniques (using text wrapping and order) and enhancing the documents (centering on the page, using WordArt, Clipart, etc.).  Sometimes students may need to group some of their items to move the items together as one.  I included a screencast giving instructions on this process since students seem to forget at first how to complete this task.

I have included the assignment given to students, a link to the screencast and the scoring guide below.


Essential Outcome:          Perform Advanced Procedures in Desktop Publishing

  1. a.     Apply Layering techniques
    1. Use “text wrapping” to move text over clipart or clipart over text.
    2. Use “order” to send text or clipart to the back
  2. b.      Enhance documents
    1. Center on page vertically and horizontally
    2. Insert textboxes, WordArt and Clipart
    3. Group objects to move around document Grouping Objects in Word

Attitude makes the difference between a good day and a bad day, between success and failure, between good relationships and bad relationships.  It’s nice to start the day meeting a positive person or reading a motivational quote or saying.  This activity will focus on an upbeat, positive attitude.

Directions:           You have been instructed by your teacher to create a poster symbolizing a positive attitude.  These posters will be displayed inside and outside this classroom.  Find at least five positive quotes.  Choose one to illustrate and create a poster.  Refer to the scoring guide below for any help.


Create a Poster

Published–5 points

Correct to Publish (3 points)

In the Trash (0 points)

Document is centered on page both vertically and horizontally Document is centered only vertically or horizontally Document is not centered
A positive saying is included on the poster The saying is not positive
A combination of textboxes and WordArt is used Document only has textboxes or WordArt Document does not have textboxes or WordArt
Appropriate clipart is used and there are at least two graphics Only one appropriate clipart is on the document Clipart is inappropriate or missing
There are no spelling or typographical errors There is one spelling or typographical error More than one spelling or typographical error
Appropriate layering techniques have been used so all text/clipart are visible on the page Layering techniques used make one not able to see some text or clipart Did not use layering techniques
Document is turned in on time Document is one day late Document is more than one day late.

September 20, 2012
by tamara talbot
1 Comment

Family Time

Reflecting on my life as I near my birthday, I have to say that some of my favorite times as a family are when we traveled together.  I believe that these times helped bond us as a family and gave us great memories to last a lifetime.  Our children are grown now and sometimes I wonder what kind of stories they will remember and tell us as we grow older.  I hope some of them are ones I remember such as:

1.  Our trip to Cincinnati to see a national tennis tournament and getting Federer’s autograph
2.  Heading off from there to the the Football Hall of Fame taking a break at a mini-golf place (another activity done on vacations.)
3.  Heading back to Cincinnati for another day of tennis–it was a great place to go as a family.
4.  Our family cruise to celebrate graduations and our 25th anniversary–going kayaking

and on a Segway tour
5.   Heading to Milwaukee for a Brewers game and touring the Jelly Belly factory (yes, our kids were 20 and 24 but they still enjoyed it)
6.  Going to Branson, feeding the geese that were just outside our door, miniature golfing and playing tennis nearby.

These are just a few of the ones I wanted to mention.  We have funny stories (for us) about each of them.  Some were more expensive than others, but the good memories are there all the same.  I would suggest to anyone to plan a trip to spend some time together.  I don’t think you will ever regret it.