Book Review- 180 DAYS: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents

180 Days

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

by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle

Rating: 4/5

From the publisher: “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?'”

180 Days tracks Kittle & Gallagher’s thinking across the course of a school year, from planning, to execution, to reflection. I appreciated the way they made their thinking visible and offered ideas for why thinks worked, or didn’t.
In 180 Days, Kittle & Gallagher argue that daily reading and writing practice leads to stronger students. They achieve this by having 10 minutes dedicated to reading at the beginning of each class day, 10 minutes of daily notebook writing, a short mini lesson and then time to create for the rest of the period.
My main criticism of the book is that it relies very heavily on independent student choice, of text and assignments. For a lot of us working in education, that simply isn’t the reality.
My biggest takeaways were:

Continue reading “Book Review- 180 DAYS: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents”

Christmas in July

Since I wasn’t blogging last Christmas, I wanted to share the first of my two Christmas dresses! This was made with stretch velvet from Cali Fabrics and the post below was originally published on the Cali Fabrics blog.

It’s always hard to find a good dress for the holidays. You want it to be stylish, but not too avant garde. Comfortable but not frumpy.

This year I took matters into my own hands and made the best holiday dress ever. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best ever but I still think it is pretty darn great.


I used Vogue 9253 – a kimono sleeve dress with a deep V-neck. It has two options for length, maxi and midi. The pattern also features a tie sash.

Continue reading “Christmas in July”

Sometimes I like to be Khaleesi

I am Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.


October 2017 was the first time that I’ve sewn my own Halloween costume and I have to say, I’m hooked!

Continue reading “Sometimes I like to be Khaleesi”

Two (more) Lodo Dresses

A very short post today!


After I made my first Lodo dress, I just couldn’t stop! I needed at least two more…..

Here is one made of heavy weight knit from Stylemaker Fabrics.


I love that this one is so easy to wear with so many colors. I can pair it with nude, brown, black or maroon — a real help in winter when I need to wear a big cardigan or boots!

Continue reading “Two (more) Lodo Dresses”


This post originally appeared on the Cali Fabrics blog. Fabric for the dress below was provided by Cali Fabrics. 


Despite loving the style of sheath dresses, I tend to wear them only on business formal days because they’re so uncomfortable. Enter the Lodo dress – comfortable enough to wear any time of the day or night.
The Lodo is a sheath dress made from a stable knit. It features subtle sleeves, a v-neck, and two length options. The best thing about this dress – other than its ease of wear-  is the ease of construction. There are 3 main pieces + 4 woven facing pieces. No darts or otherwise complicated bits. The only complication might be figuring out which view to make.
This is made out of  Navy Blue 4-way Stretch Heavy Ponte De Roma Navy Blue 4-way Stretch Heavy Ponte De Roma   and some chambray scraps from my Alex shirt dress last fall. I love that the Lodo has woven facings – a great way to add small pops of color inside and to use up scraps.


Tried and True Sewing?

A version of this post originally appeared on the Cali Fabrics blog. The fabrics were provided by Cali Fabrics. 

I wrote last week about my new favorite #tnt pattern, Simplicity 2444. This led me to think about tried and true patterns vs new patterns.

In my mind, there are two types of sewists – those who enjoy the constant challenge of new patterns and those that enjoy sewing tried and true patterns over and over again. There are pros and cons to each –

Continue reading “Tried and True Sewing?”

My new #TNT dress – Simplicity 2444


I fell in love with a new pattern – Simplicity 2444! It is a great basic bodice/full skirt pattern. It was part of the Project Runway collaboration so there are several variations so you can “design” your own dress. I always find those variations funny because most of them are things that anyone could do with a little pattern hacking but for those who don’t feel comfortable doing hacking, they are nice.

Continue reading “My new #TNT dress – Simplicity 2444”