Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Get Busy in the Beehive: A Life-Skills Lifeline

April 24, 2006

Here's a great Web-based resource most educators don't know about. Though this Web site is not specifically designed with the school audience in mind, I think you'll find it extremely valuable, and will be able to integrate it into a number of curricular areas. It's great for interdisciplinary, project-based learning.

First, I want to tell you a little bit about the organization that developed it. It does important work and deserves some credit. The One Economy Corporation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, was started by a group of social entrepreneurs who wanted to maximize the potential of technology to help low-income and moderate-income people improve their lives and join the economic mainstream. They realize that one of the reasons poor people are isolated is that they lack access to technology and the information technology brings.

One Economy found out early on that most of the information on the Web is for economically mainstream consumers. The information targeting "the poor," however, is often written in a way that is not accessible to them. So, One Economy thought a lot about Internet content: What kind of information is most important to people in lower socioeconomic classes? Is the information culturally competent? What kind of information is available to monolingual Spanish readers?

One Economy found out that the most important information to help low-income people improve their economic standing would be resources about health, finances, careers, education, and helping children succeed in school.

Therefore, One Economy created the Beehive, a consumer Web site with important information about money, health, school, jobs, child care, and much more. These are some of the cool tools, content, and links I think teachers, students, and parents might use. (Note that you can sort information by state or nation and by language. You may have to register in order to access some of the tools.)

In the school section (available in English and Spanish), you'll find information you can pass on to parents -- how they can help their children with homework, for example, or planning for and affording a college education -- as well as to students. This consists mostly of best-of-the-Web links, but the section for high school students has some interesting content on how to prepare for the SAT and about going to college (finding the right college, what to look for, and so on).

In the jobs-and-career section, there's a career-match quiz -- great for high school students thinking about future jobs and necessary education -- and a résumé builder. If you are a school counselor, or you're a teacher who wants to use the topic of careers as an experience in PBL, this is for you.

In the section about starting and owning a business, business teachers will love the appreciation for building business plans, and English teachers can use it as a composition exercise. This section also contains top-notch content on managing cash flow, investing, and examples of problems faced by growing businesses. (Have teams of students analyze the problems and come up with possible solutions.)

Please share what you think of the site, as well as recommendations of other similar resources.

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