About bzielonka

Barbara Anna Zielonka is a full-time high school English teacher, educational technologist, teacher trainer, project manager, judge in international educational competitions, speaker, lifelong learner, catalyst for change and author.


What is the Sustainable Lifestyle Challenge?

It is my latest interdisciplinary project idea consisting of six main themes such as Food, Footprint, Zero-Waste, Cosmetics, Fashion and Water. The common thread among these six themes is SUSTAINABILITY- a complex concept often defined as the integration of environmental health, social justice and economic vitality to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities for this generation and future generations.

The Sustainable Lifestyle Challenge is also an opportunity for you and your students to learn about environmentally-friendly alternatives by changing your lifestyle. The main goal of this challenge is to reduce your impact on the environment by changing the way you live from day to day. I strongly believe that anyone can make a positive change and a lasting impact on the world and become a more conscious consumer, and teachers can design lessons that engage students both mentally and emotionally.

Let’s put sustainability at the heart of education

How does it work?

Every week or every other  week, we delve into a new topic by completing different challenges that require different skills. The challenges are posted online so that students who work faster than the rest of the class can dive into a new topic and complete more complicated challenges.Th challenges accommodate all students and challenge high achieving students. They cover basic areas of learning, but also allow for extension far beyond. Students document their work with digital portfolios ( SwayWixWordPress) and receive digital badges that serve both as recognition of learning or achievement and as digital evidence of that achievement. Upon completion of all challenges, which fall into six different areas, students choose a topic and delve into their area of interest. 

How and why was it born?

Firstly, I have been teaching Sustainable Development Goals since 2015. It has been one of my favourite topics and the main theme in many of my global projects. Secondly, I have always wanted to make this learning experience as enjoyable and authentic as possible. Discussing alternative lifestyles or pointing out solutions is one thing, but implementing them in your own life is another. This challenge allows students and teachers to look at the choices they make every single day and figure out how to live a more sustainable life by analyzing their consumption, finding better choices, and implementing them in their lives. Thirdly, I was interested in designing learning that could take place both online and in the classroom and  where deep learning takes precedence over rote memorization. Fourthly, I wanted to create a series of lessons in which eco-literacy and ecological intelligence would be a collective approach to well-being. 

What’s in it for you and your students? CHALLENGES:

 -allowing learners to think and act now

-including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) 

-that can be tailored to students’ needs and interests

-for learners who may have in-depth knowledge of a subject or minimal knowledge

-providing opportunities for higher-order thinking, problem-solving and creativity

-giving an element of choice (both in the task and in the final product) and allowing learners to work to their strengths and interests

-allowing learners to feel ownership of the tasks

-that can be done both at home and at school (hybrid/ online/ classroom environment)

– helping students develop a deep insight into the importance of sustainability

-helping our students grow into responsible citizens who truly care about sustaining life and develop a passion for applying their ecological intelligence to their personal and professional life

-offering authentic assessment (assessments that ask students to engage in complex and realistic scenarios or practices) 

-providing opportunities for learners to demonstrate what they are capable of achieving.

Together we can learn how to live within the environmental limits of our planet and to build a just, equitable and peaceful society, and is essential for the well-being of all.