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180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents

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9780325081137: 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents
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"Teaching is art-creation-and a curriculum map is only as good as the teacher who considers it, who questions it, and who revises it to meet the needs of each year's students." -Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle

Two teachers. Two classrooms.
One school year.

180 Days represents the collaboration of two master teachers-Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle-over an entire school year: planning, teaching, and reflecting within their own and each other's classrooms in California and New Hampshire. Inspired by a teacher's question, "How do you fit it all in?" they identified and prioritized the daily, essential, belief-based practices that are worth spending time on. They asked, "Who will these students be as readers and writers after a year under our care?"

What we make time for matters: what we plan, how we revise our plans while teaching, and how we reflect and decide what's next. The decision-making in the moment is the most essential work of teaching, and it's the ongoing study of the adolescents in front of us that has the greatest impact on our thinking.

With both the demands of time and the complexity of diverse students in mind, Kelly and Penny mapped out a year of engaging literacy practices aligned to their core beliefs about what matters most. They share their insights on managing time and tasks and offer teaching strategies for engaging students in both whole class and independent work. Video clips of Kelly and Penny teaching in each other's classrooms bring this year to life and show you what a steadfast commitment to belief-based instruction looks like in action.

180 Days. Make every moment matter. Teach fearlessly. Empower all students to live literate lives.

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About the Author:

Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) teaches at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California. He is the author of several books on adolescent literacy, most notably Readicide and Write Like This. Kelly is the former co-director of the South Basin Writing Project at California State University, Long Beach and the former president of the Secondary Reading Group for the International Literacy Association.

Penny Kittle teaches freshman composition at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She was a teacher and literacy coach in public schools for 34 years, 21 of those spent at Kennett High School in North Conway. She is the co-author of 180 Days with Kelly Gallagher, and is the author of Book Love, and Write Beside Them, which won the James Britton award. She also co-authored two books with her mentor, Don Graves, and co-edited (with Tom Newkirk) a collection of Graves' work, Children Want to Write. She is the president of the Book Love Foundation and was given the Exemplary Leader Award from NCTE's Conference on English Leadership. In the summer Penny teaches graduate students at the University of New Hampshire Literacy Institutes. Throughout the year, she travels across the U.S. and Canada (and once in awhile quite a bit farther) speaking to teachers about empowering students through independence in literacy. She believes in curiosity, engagement, and deep thinking in schools for both students and their teachers. Penny stands on the shoulders of her mentors, the Dons (Murray & Graves), and the Toms (Newkirk & Romano), in her belief that intentional teaching in a reading and writing workshop brings the greatest student investment and learning in a classroom. Learn more about Penny Kittle on her websites, pennykittle.net and booklovefoundation.org, or follow her on twitter. Penny's students make a statement about how student choice in reading has affected them.

Review:

This book is a brilliant work of architecture the making of an English course. How do you shape the movement of the 180 days, balancing open space and structure, individuality and assessment, breadth and depth (not to mention managing the damn thing). Two of our country s most innovative teachers, Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher, take on this challenge in a cross-country collaboration, exploring the art of the possible. This book and its amazing video accompaniment illustrates not so much the fixed course everyone should teach (even they don t totally agree on that), but how to think through the making, and the principles that should be its foundation. Thomas Newkirk, author of Embarrassment and Minds Made for Stories


Spending 180 days on the job and in the world with Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher is like apprenticing yourself to a year in the kitchen with two master chefs who speak honestly and passionately about the challenges we face and the choices we must make every day in our own classrooms. I learned something new on every page, verbally annotating just about every suggestion with a mental Yes! or Try this! At every turn, they acknowledge and address the constraints, especially of time, we all face in our classes then show us how they manage to teach their students so much and so well despite those constraints. Jim Burke, author of The English Teacher s Companion



Who among us hasn t wished to be a fly on the wall of Penny s and Kelly s classrooms? In 180 Days, we aren t just flies we are invited into their brains, their plan books, and their friendship as they answer the question that plagues every teacher: how to do it all in one year? This book is not about how to find time where time doesn t exist. It s not about turning 180 days into 200 days so you can fit everything in. This book is about making decisions about what really matters enough and how to make the most of the time we are given with our students. It honors teachers as decision-makers and reminds us of the power of professional collaboration to change not only our students learning but also our own professional lives. --Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell, coauthors of Writing With Mentors and Beyond Literary Analysis

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