Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Active Learning

    Discovering active learning has been enlightening. I was taught in a very traditional way and yet I can remember a few times when a teacher used active learning and it was a powerful and fun lesson. I love how student driven active learning is because it creates a more collaborative approach to learning.The lesson example (see Prezi below) that I read was a great because the students directed the lesson which increased the engagement and allowed for an authentic learning experience. 

   I feel that teachers should keep active learning in mind when they are lesson planning because it fosters independence and nuture students for the future. Students creating their learning experiences while being cognitively challenged will increase students ability to retain their knowledge because it is meaningful to them.  I would love to incorporate a more collaborative approach to learning in my classroom. We have 1:1 iPads in our classroom this year and I am hoping that I can create a lesson that allows my students to have more choice but with guidance. Working with first graders my goal is to foster independence and through active learning opportunities I feel that I can reach that goal sooner. I am looking forward to implementing more opportunities for active learning in my classroom this year! 

(See Prezi below)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

All About Me

My name is Amanda Zika and I teach first grade at Willard Elementary School. I love teaching first grade because it is a great age for teaching the importance of good character. With all the changes in education it has been invigorating learning new ways to enrich and engage students.  I chose education as my career because I love having the ability to positively impact society.

I grew up in Glenview, IL and graduated from Glenbrook South High School. I continued my education at Illinois State University where I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and my minor in Psychology in 2007. My first job in education was as a teacher's aide working with students with special education needs which was a great foundation to my new career in education.  I decided to get my ELL endorsement from National Louis University. My next position brought me to Beach Park School in a 5th grade classroom followed by two long term substitute positions in Pre-K and then a full-day Kindergarten. After my experience working with such a diverse population I decided to get my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at National Louis University. In 2010, I was hired at Willard Elementary School as a Kindergarten teacher and have been teaching there ever since!

On a personal note, I am a new mom! I had a little girl named Madeline Dior on March 16th. My husband Garrett and I are loving our new adventure as parents. When I am not spending time with my growing family, I enjoy time with my friends. I love going to concerts, eating and cooking delicious food and experiencing new things. I find it extremely important to have balance in my life and I am striving to be the best me!