Living Wages vs. Minimum Wages

Last night I was reading a discussion on FlyerTalk that raised the question of whether hotel housekeeping staff should be expected. This discussion has turned into a big question of minimum wage versus living wage. This discussion reminds me of two assets that I have highlighted in the past that help students understand why the minimum wage and the living wage are not almost the same thing.

Living Wage Calculator is a great resource hosted by MIT. The Living Wage Calculator displays the current minimum wage and living wage in all fifty U.S. states, counties in each state, and the largest metropolitan area in each state. Information is provided based on individuals and families. For example, in my county, the minimum wage for a single person is .9 16.97 / hour, compared to $ 12.75 whereas for a family of four working adults, the living wage is $ 24.04 / hour versus the minimum wage of $ 12.75 / hour. To support these calculations, the Living Wage Calculator includes a corresponding table of general costs for each given position. These costs include taxes, housing, transportation, childcare and food.

Life on Minimum Wage (link opens a Google Doc) is an activity I created almost thirteen years ago to help my civics students understand how difficult it is to save money when your only job (s) pays the minimum wage without benefits. To win Life at the minimum wage Students need to reach the five financial goals that they choose. In order to earn money, students have to complete their assigned assignments. Students will then need to pay the required bills before using the money for their chosen financial goals. As the game progresses, students will be given “surprise” cards for which they will have to spend money on things like quick tickets, trips to health clinics, and fare increases. The minimum wage includes all the work of life so that if one business reduces production or shuts down, the workers of other businesses are also affected. The goal here is to show the impact of business closure on the economy of a small town.

Important note before using this activity:
I have not adjusted this activity for inflation since 2009. You probably want to do this.

Before you email me about the Browning Rifle Goal Cards, please understand that these were targets chosen by my students in the rural community where hunting is often a family tradition. You are welcome to change that card for use in your own classroom

Thanks to the teachers-quotes you share every year!

Academics have one of the most important but difficult tasks in the world. There are no words to describe the many hats they wear. As Teacher Appreciation Month rolls around, they’ve got that summer vacation! Yet, every year teachers come back ready to take up the challenge again, eager to make a difference in the lives of their students. If you would like to express your gratitude, consider writing a note of gratitude and include one of these thank-you quotes for teachers (a gift card never hurts, either 😉).

A child, a teacher, a pen and a book can change the world. Malala Yousafzai

A child, a teacher, a pen and a book can change the world.  Malala Yousafzai

A teacher is a compass that activates the magnet of curiosity, knowledge and wisdom in the students. – Ever Garrison

A teacher is a compass that activates the magnet of curiosity, knowledge and wisdom in the students.  - Ever Garrison

A good teacher can awaken hope, awaken imagination and awaken love for learning. -Brad Henry

A good teacher can awaken hope, awaken imagination and awaken love for learning.  -Brad Henry

A teacher influences eternity; He can never say where his influence will end. – Henry Brooks Adams

A teacher influences eternity;  He can never say where his influence will end.  - Henry Brooks Adams

Better a poor horse than no horse at all. -Joseph Albers

Better a poor horse than no horse at all.  -Joseph Albers

I am indebted to my father for survival, but to my teacher for survival. – Alexander the Great

I am indebted to my father for survival, but to my teacher for survival.  - Alexander the Great

A good teacher is like a candle – it devours itself to light the way for others. – Mostafa Kamal Ataturk

A good teacher is like a candle - it devours itself to light the way for others.  - Mostafa Kamal Ataturk

A good teacher is one who gradually makes himself unnecessary. – Thomas Carathers

A good teacher is one who gradually makes himself unnecessary.  - Thomas Carathers

The great teacher is not the person who provides the most information, but he is the person in whose presence we become different people. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The great teacher is not the person who provides the most information, but he is the person in whose presence we become different people.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Education gives birth to confidence. Confidence inspires hope. Hope gives birth to peace. – Confucius

Education gives birth to confidence.  Confidence inspires hope.  Hope gives birth to peace.  - Confucius

The highest art of the teacher is to evoke joy in creative expression and knowledge. – Albert Einstein

The highest art of the teacher is to evoke joy in creative expression and knowledge.  - Albert Einstein

Talent without education is like silver. -Benjamin Franklin

A mind, once expanded by a new concept, never returns to its original dimension. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

A mind, once expanded by a new concept, never returns to its original dimension.  - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Those who remember their own education remember the teachers, not the methods and techniques. Teachers are the lifeblood of the education system. – Sydney Hook

Those who remember their own education remember the teachers, not the methods and techniques.  Teachers are the lifeblood of the education system.  - Sydney Hook

Better a poor horse than no horse at all. -Japanese proverb

Better a poor horse than no horse at all.  -Japanese proverb

A brilliant teacher looks back with gratitude, but also with gratitude to those who have touched our human feelings. – Carl Jung

A brilliant teacher looks back with gratitude, but also with gratitude to those who have touched our human feelings.  - Carl Jung

Great teachers empathize with children, respect them and believe that everyone has something special that can be developed. – Ann Lieberman

Great teachers empathize with children, respect them and believe that everyone has something special that can be developed.  - Ann Lieberman

Students don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care. – John C. Maxwell

Students don't care how much you know, unless they know how much you care.  - John C.  Maxwell

Be a great role model because you will be the window through which many children can see their future. – Thomas McKinnon

Be a great role model because you will be the window through which many children can see their future.  - Thomas McKinnon

We never forget what we learn with joy. – Alfred Mercier

We never forget what we learn with joy.  - Alfred Mercier

A test of the accuracy of the educational method is the happiness of the child. – Maria Montessori

A test of the accuracy of the educational method is the happiness of the child.  - Maria Montessori

Anyone who does something to help a child in his life is a hero to me. – Fred Rogers

Anyone who does something to help a child in his life is a hero to me.  - Fred Rogers

Most of us have no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for a lifetime. -Andy Rooney

Most of us have no more than five or six people who remember us.  Teachers have thousands of people who remember them all their lives.  -Andy Rooney

The biggest sign of success for a teacher is … being able to say, “The kids are acting like I’m not there now.” – Maria Montessori

The biggest sign of success for a teacher is ...

It is good to teach children to count, but it is best to teach them. – Bob Talbert

It is good to teach children to count, but it is best to teach them.  - Bob Talbert

What a gift for a teacher to see students smile and live up to their potential. That is the reward. Humble to be a witness to something like that. – Mary Valelonga

What a gift for a teacher to see students smile and live up to their potential.  That is the reward.  Humble to be a witness to something like that.  - Mary Valelonga

I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession. – John Wooden

I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.  - John Wooden

Education is not about filling a bowl, it is about lighting a fire. William Butler Yates

Education is not about filling a bowl, it is about lighting a fire.  William Butler Yates

Like this thanks quote for teachers? Try these team-building quotes for classrooms and schools.

Also, share your favorite quotes in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Mental health activities for students

Meeting the needs of the whole child is always a top priority for educators. But with the challenges posed by the epidemic, many students are struggling to cope. If you are looking for ways to actively support your students’ socio-emotional well-being, here are some activities you can use to get started.

9 activities for the well-being of students

Use these activities to engage students with the strategies needed to deal with and manage their difficult emotions.

Editable Google Slides self-care chart bundle

Editable | Google Slides Self-Care Chart Bundle by Tales of Patty Pepper
Grade not specified

Self-care handouts for teachers, parents and students

Self-care handout for teachers, parents and students by Counselor Chelsea
Grade not specified

Positive confirmation: color journal and confirmation card

Positive Confirmation: Color Journal and Confirmation Card by Ally Sezekinsky with Miss Behavior
Grade not specified

French Mental Health Check-In - Poster and Google Slide Template

French Mental Health Check-In – Poster of Perfection Parnell and Google Slide Template
Classs: K-10th

Google Apps 7 included Teacher-author points out that this resource includes resources from Google Workspace.

Mindfulness Meditation: 10 guided meditation

Mindfulness Meditation Destination Meditation 10 Meditation Guided by Bright Future Counseling
Grade: 1st-6th

Mental Health Coloring Page: Exciting 8 color designs

Mental Health Coloring Page for Kids and Teachers: 8 Exciting Designs for Coloring by Glitter Meets Glue
Grade: 1st-6th

Udlan Wellness Warriors

School Counseling Bundle: Elasticity, optimism, gratitude and wellness by school counseling with a whole heart
Grade: 1st-8th

COVID-19 Social-Emotional Learning Journal for Mental Health and Mental Awareness

Covid 19 Social Emotional Learning Journal – Mental Health and Mental Awareness by a Curious World
Categories: 3rd-8th

Wellbeing Diary / Journal with Habit Tracker

Distance Learning SEL Well Being Printable and Digital Journal by Teachers Resource Force
Grade: 6th-12th

Find more activities and ideas at TpT to support students’ well-being and socio-emotional needs.


This post, originally published in 2020, was updated for 2022. Featured resources in the picture (left to right) were created by Ally Sezekinski with Tales of Patti Paper, Counselor Chelsea, Miss Behavior, Draw calm, and Perfectly parnell.

How to create and send personalized certificates in Google Workspace

As we approach the end of the school year, you may feel the need to create and distribute student certificates. These can be for recognition of anything from honor roll to volunteer work. It was necessary to purchase rims of pre-printed certificates from a catalog to issue certificates for these events and then manually enter the names of the students. Today, there are some easy ways to create customized and personalized certificates In fact, you can do this with Google Workspace tools that you are already using regularly. In the video below I show you how you can design your own customized certificate with Google Slides. In the video I used Pixabay to find boundaries to use in my certificate. This is not the only source you can use. Any site that offers public domain imagery can be used in a similar way to design your own certificate.

Use Certify’em to issue personalized certificates on an as-needed basis.
Here’s how to use it if you don’t have a pre-existing list of students who need a certificate or if you want to be able to issue certificates on demand. Certify’em is a Google Forms add-on that lets you automatically issue a certificate to students when you pass a quiz on Google Forms with a minimum score of your choice. I use Certify’em to issue certificates to those who complete my professional development webinars and courses. Watch this video to learn how to use Certify’em.

Use autoCrat to create bulk personalized certificates.
To use this method if you already have a list of students who should get a certificate for something like Honor Roll or Perfect Attendance. To use this method you need to create a Google Sheet or create a list of student names. Once you have that list, you can run a Google Sheet add-on called AutoCAD to automatically personalize certificates for each student on the list. Certificate template must be created on Google Slides. Watch my video to learn how to use AutoCAD and Google Slides to create bulk personalized testimonials.