Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Teacher Feature - Emily Kafka

Everyone has one or two teachers that really standout and go the extra mile to help make a difference in their education.  Emily Kafka is going to be that teacher for many seniors that will graduate from North Moore this spring. After graduating from North Moore, Mrs. Kafka attended Campbell University and returned to teach Social Studies.  She is very active in the school and community.  I sat down with her to ask her a few questions about her experiences in education.  

Q: How long have you been in the school system
        3 years (starting my 4th)

Q: What were some of your earliest lessons that incorporated technology?
        The 1-1 Initiative was launched second semester of my first year of teaching, making the incorporation of technology a great deal easier. One of the first in-depth technology related assignments I incorporated was the  Everfi Financial Literacy lesson (sponsored by BB&T). The Everfi website allows students to complete activity based modules (at their own pace) based on curriculum objectives. Examples include; savings, bankings, credit scores, taxes, and insurance. I also incorporated review lessons with the help of Kahoot and found interactive websites for a great deal of my social studies objectives (PBS, History Channel, and the Bill of Rights Institute are just a few websites that have wonderful resources). 
Q: Where do you start when you’re planning a lesson?
        I start my lesson planning considering not only the ultimate outcome/purpose of the lesson but also the best way to engage and encourage active learning. It seems clich√© but I want the kids to enjoy the material as much as possible; therefore, I try to incorporate as many activities in a lesson as possible. I typically mull over the overarching theme of the lesson and then do some online research with the hopes of finding an entertaining activity (whether online or not) that allows the students to put into practice or consider more in-depth the concept I am trying to teach them. 

Q: What’s one of your favorite lessons that you really enjoy teaching? What makes it your favorite?
        My favorite lesson to teach is my introductory lesson to Economics. I have my students play the game "Life." We play with an "Economic" spin in that students receive jobs, salaries, and homes. Every pay day they not only receive their salary, they also have to pay bills (including power, mortgage, internet, cell phone and more) all of which we discuss prior to the game. Each time a team has children; their monthly bills increase. They keep track of their checking account and consider how their job choices, home choices, and more effect their money supply. The game is really entertaining and the students truly enjoy it; however, it also teaches them about scarcity, resources, needs, wants, and many more economic concepts. I like to do this lesson in the beginning so that we can refer back to it during many of our economic lessons. 

Q: You’re involved in so many things at North Moore and Moore County Schools. Volleyball, Beta Club, teaching Twilight School, teaching classes all day, etc. How do you do it?
        I suppose I am capable of doing it all (and it seems like a lot listed out like that) because I truly enjoy where I work, it feels like home and the faculty are family. I am a firm believer that North Moore High School is the best place to teach and when you love where you work it doesn't seem like work. I take each day as it comes and am fortunate to work with so many great people that are constantly willing to lend a hand whenever needed. 

These are just a few of the things that make Mrs. Kafka a leader in Moore County Schools.  She is smart, student-centered, motivated and has a good sense of humor.  The teaching profession and the students of Moore County need more like Mrs. Kafka.  

Tyler Callahan
@STEM_TC
jcallahan@ncmcs.org

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