The Stock Market Game is a curriculum-based teaching tool that allows students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 online stock portfolio to learn about long-term saving and investing.You know times are tough when Oprah announces her annual "Favorite Things" show will not feature her usual pricey gifts but will rather focus on things that cost next to nothing. That's what the holidays are really all about, right? That may be a tough consolation to those who actually scored tickets to Oprah's most coveted show of the year. On Wall Street, the stock market rebounded Friday on a late-session surge that boosted the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 494.13 points. Friday's gains followed a dismal Thursday where the S&P 500 plunged to an 11 1/2-year low on recession fears. The mood was also gloomy Thursday with the prospect of a bailout of the Big Three automakers ( GM ( GM), Ford ( F), and Chrysler) pretty much dead in the water. Democratic leaders said Thursday Congress would meet again in December to consider extending a $25 billion package for the struggling auto makers if the companies devise a "viable" recovery plan. Opponents of the bailout argue the companies should use bankruptcy protection to become competitive rather than rely on a federal life preserver. The auto execs insist bankruptcy is not an option and would trigger an economic nightmare. At Wednesday's congressioanl hearing, GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, went so far as projecting another depression if a bailout package was not presented. He testified, "At this point without injections of liquidity, I think it's reasonably probable that some portion if not all of the domestic industry will not survive." A bailout would "... prevent the United States from entering into an economic depression in my view." The financial firm Citigroup ( C) has also had a tough week. Shares of the company plunged Thursday and Friday, hitting a 15-year low and prompting the company's board of directors to meet Friday to discuss ways to reverse the stock's slide. It is rumored the beleaguered bank may be looking to raise more capital by putting itself on the chopping block. Over the past four quarters, the company has recorded close to $21 billion in losses. With so much of the evening news dedicated to the "bailout" and troubles in the international markets, elementary/middle school Stock Market Game students may be interested in the StockTalk issue, "Levers & Loans." It brings our old friends, Queso and Crackers, back together to explain "leverage" and its role in the current financial status of the country. For our high school students (and upper middle schoolers), we conclude the Fall 2008 semester with a new issue of In the News addressing volatility. "Buckle Up," uses the metaphor of a roller coaster ride to introduce an explanation of volatility and the Chicago Board Option Exchange's Volatility Index. The issue also contrasts the market's short-term volatility with its long-term performance. To access the Stock Talk and In the News newsletters, please visit the Teacher Support Center. Click the "Publications" link in the In the Classroom section, and locate the appropriate newsletter series from the list of publications. In light of the upcoming holiday, we will be sending next week's Week in Review on Tuesday afternoon. Please be on the lookout for it. To learn more about The Stock Market Game, visit www.stockmarketgame.org.