Personalized Interactive Notebooks

This post was sponsored by Five Star® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

As much as I love our 1:1 Chromebook situation and moving more of my projects and assignments online, I still require my students to keep a notebook for my class. I want my students to be bilingual in the sense that they can navigate through online documents and responses, but they can also grab a notebook and a pen at any time and make meaning of content. Different students process information differently, so I believe they need choice when it comes to how they organize and lay out their notes and questions.

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I enlisted the talents of four of my amazing students to test out four different Five Star® Interactive Notebooks and see how each style helped them keep their information and tools organized.

Hailie chose this Five Star® Customizable Interactive Notebook (College Ruled). Her favorite feature was the customizable cover. She can slip in a cover page for any subject, and then switch it out at any time. The cover is super durable and will protect any other papers that she might slip in there if she is running late at the end of class.

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She utilized the margins on the right hand side for chapter titles so that she could easily find the sections she needed to study or refer to. She loves adding her own banners for subheadings, and there is plenty of uncluttered space for her to lay out vocabulary words and main ideas under each banner.

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Jessie chose the Five Star® Customizable Interactive Composition Book (College Ruled) for her English notebook. She also loved the customizable cover, and she trimmed hers down so that it would fit perfectly. The smooth edge never gets caught on anything in her backpack, and the inside pages open to a more natural two-page layout.

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She created a contrasting layout for a piece of informational text about the leadership styles of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln. She used the margins to note the lines and page numbers where she found textual evidence about each figure. She delineated her own commentary by setting it off with highlighted boxes so that she could easily translate these notes into an essay the next day. And does she not just have the most beautiful handwriting you’ve ever seen?

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Rachel preferred the Five Star® College Ruled Interactive Notebook because she could store so much in the first section. There is a full-size pocket to store handouts, as well has a half-page pocket where she can keep stickers, page flags, or sticky notes.

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All of these Five Star® Notebooks also have a handy reinforced Table of Contents section at the beginning. I used to always print a Table of Contents for my students and have them fill it in as we went through the year, but this one is much more durable, and there’s no extra work for me!

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Rachel went through the same text about Davis and Lincoln and kept track of important quotes as she read. She added her own commentary underneath the quotes, and then jotted down connections that came to her in the margin where she kept a “notes” section.

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Another cool feature at the back of these notebooks is the extendable grid, for plotting points on a chart, creating schedules, mapping out a room, making a bullet journal layout, or anything else you can think of to use it for. It’s made of the same cardstock-like paper as the Table of Contents in the front.

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Nadia’s notebook had the same green cover as Rachel’s but she loved all of the clear pockets inside this Five Star® Wide Ruled Interactive Notebook. It has two small pockets at the top to hold note-taking supplies, and a larger envelope below for bigger, flat items. She can see all of her supplies laid out right away, and they never get lost in the black hole of backpack pockets.

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Nadia thinks best when she has a lot of white space in her notes, so created this clean, sparse layout for a lesson on the euphemisms in Farewell to Manzanar. She added her own doodles to remind her about the primary source documents we looked at in class.

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All four girls are excellent students, and while they do great work on our online platforms, they enjoy working with pen and paper to process new information. Some of their best connections and epiphanies have come from seeing their notes laid out on the page in a way that they understand. Plus they all enjoy the process of hand writing, and they like looking back at their written notes much better than notes on an online document.

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These are an awesome back to school staple item to add to your list for middle or high school classes. Which one is your favorite?

 

 

Structured Academic Controversies

**I wrote this post to accompany this video. They will make more sense if you use them together! **

My absolute favorite way to teach controversial topics is through an activity called a Structured Academic Controversy. I learned about this method at a civic learning seminar at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, which I was fortunate enough to attend with several of my colleagues. We participated in our own Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) and we were instantly hooked.

What I love about SACs is that they require students to practice three important skills: researching, listening, and articulating evidence. This isn’t a debate or an argument, but rather, an opportunity to present evidence from two different sides of an issue and eventually, discuss the merits of both sides.

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I find the topics and evidence for SACs mainly on two sites: Stanford History Education Group, and ProCon.org. I either print out the evidence for my students to study, or provide links so that they can read it on their Chromebooks. In order to keep the process moving, I put each step on a separate slide in a presentation so that students can follow along.

Here is an example of a Structured Academic Controversy I did with my sixth grade History students this year. We had just finished our unit on Ancient Greece, and I gave them the printed resources from the Reading Like a Historian website, which is free to use when you make an account.

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This was the first time I had tried a SAC with this group of students, so we went over the expectations for the activity. My students are already arranged into mixed ability groups of four, so it didn’t require any prep work on my end besides printing materials, and organizing the instructions onto slides.

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The sources provided through Reading Like a Historian are excellent, and they can truly be used to argue either side of the question. Since there are so many high-quality sets of documents on this website and ProCon.org, I haven’t made my own SACs with my own research. If the research is poor in quality, the discussion will not be nearly as deep or engaging, so I’m letting the experts take the wheel here!

I gave my students a whole day to read through the documents and look for evidence to support their side. This was the fourth or fifth time during the year that we had worked with sets of documents from the same website, so they were familiar with the format and how to analyze the sources.

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In the documents I gave my students there was a graphic organizer to list four pieces of evidence from each side. Since this activity requires such deep thinking and the best of their communication skills, anywhere that I can provide scaffolding to free up my students’ attention for more important tasks, I will.

The next day, we had our Structured Academic Controversy. I always hype it up and make it sound like more of an intense debate than it really is. So many students came to class excited to pretend to be lawyers.

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And, go! In my class, eight or nine students begin speaking once I set the two minute timer. Students have to lean in to hear one another, and I walk around the room to make sure that everyone is paying attention to the speaker.

Each teammate on Team A should talk for about one minute. If they run out of things to say, I tell them they still need to keep talking until the time is up.

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The first round is really exhilarating for students. Team B is ready to burst because they haven’t gotten to speak yet, and Team A is giggling with relief now that they articulated their evidence before the timer went off. You have to slow them down a little bit and make sure that Team B is only clarifying at this point, and not moving on to their side of the argument.

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Now Team B gets to speak, and Team A gets a taste of having to sit silently while listening to the evidence from the other side. Again, they should be writing down this evidence in the space provided on their graphic organizer.

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Reset your timer and allow Team A time to clarify Team B’s points. If either group has any misinterpretations, the other group is sure to set them straight. They only have one minute to do this though, which is just enough time before they begin to launch into a full debate.

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Even partners who were apathetic at first are usually excited to turn to each other at this point and figure out what they want to say back to the other team. I tell them there is an invisible wall in between the two groups; they should only be talking to their partner, not the other group.

This is the perfect time for students to bring in new evidence, restate evidence they already brought up, or respond directly to arguments the other group made. They are taking evidence, arguments and rhetoric, and adapting them to the situation at hand. This requires very high level thinking, even if they don’t realize it in the moment.

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Everyone takes a deep breath! This is similar to the very first round, but each partner will only speak for about 30 seconds, and there is no clarification round in between the two groups’ statements.

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At this point the two groups become one larger group of four. They can speak candidly now and talk openly about what they learned, and what they really think about the issue. It’s going to get loud in your classroom during these five minutes, but the conversations are great!

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I usually have eight or nine groups of four in my classes, and I ask one person in each group to report out about their conversation. That person stands and addresses the class, and I usually ask a few questions about the process and their conclusions.

With this group, most students concluded that Athens wasn’t a true democracy since so many people couldn’t vote, but there were still several students who insisted that Athens was a democracy. They explained the evidence that led them to this conclusion, and I validated their conclusions. Some students were frustrated with each other, but I reminded them that it’s okay if we disagree, as long as we’re able to listen to each other first.

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The reflection piece is incredibly important to this process, and to building the skills that I want students to learn from a SAC. I always do it the day after the conversation portion, and I give students about ten minutes of quiet time to answer these questions.

This is also how I give them a grade. The fourth question is, “What grade do you deserve on a scale of 1-10? Justify this grade.” Most students give themselves a fairly high grade, and that’s fine with me because simply going through the process is valuable, whether or not they have mastered the art of rhetorical and evidence-based argument.

They’ve researched. They’ve listened. They’ve practiced self-control. They’ve spoken respectfully and concisely. They’ve weighed two arguments against each other. They’ve reflected upon this slightly uncomfortable way of communicating. I think these are all such important skills to learn while students are young, and I pray that they carry them into adulthood.

My goal for next year is for all of my classes to participate in one SAC per quarter. The topics can be based on our content, or on current events. This activity incorporates so many standards-based skills, as well ask skills that simply make us good humans. Make sure to watch this video along with this post to hear more about why I think bringing controversial conversations into your classroom is so important!

 

Literary Response One-Pager Activity

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I was going to save this post until August when I had been properly AVID-trained, but I get so many questions about these One-Pagers on Instagram! They turned out so beautifully, and it’s such an easy strategy that I think we can all implement it with or without the full training.

A Literary Response One-Pager is an AVID summarizing strategy in which students use evidence from the text as well as graphics to convey the overall idea or theme of a story. It’s a very versatile strategy, and I’ve seen teachers use it in history and science classes as well. My co-worker had her class do this assignment for The Diary of Anne Frank and I loved how hers turned out, so I used the same strategy. I came up with my own instructions and posted them on Google Classroom for my students to refer to.

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(I use LucidPress to create most of my digital flyers instructions, and the flat lay graphic is from Laine Sutherland Designs on TeachersPayTeachers).

The examples here are from my 8th grade English class, using the Anne Frank play from the HMH Collections Curriculum. We had engaged in so many discussions while reading the play, and my students had written so many shorter, focused writing pieces, that I didn’t want to assign another long essay at the end of this text. But because Anne Frank’s story is so powerful and so profound, especially to readers who are her same age, I knew we needed a reflection piece.

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Before we started working on these One-Pagers we talked about tone. Color choices would reflect students’ understanding of the tone of the story, and would allow them to express their interpretations of the story. I love using Flocabulary’s video and resources on Tone & Mood to introduce this topic.

Similarly, the excerpts that students chose to use from the story also demonstrated both their understanding of the main ideas and theme, and allowed them to choose the sections that they connected with the most. I love when an assignment offers choices to students, but also keeps them focused on a specific task.

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Clearly, the graphics on these projects are stunning! We have an amazing art program at our school, and I also just happened to have a class full of some of the most artistically talented students I’ve ever met. I also love that calligraphy/hand-lettering is kind of a thing again, and these students like to make all of their hand-written assignments look extra amazing. It isn’t necessary that all of your students have professional drawing skills in order to do One-Pagers, but it is nice if they put a little bit of effort into the details of their graphics. These girls (yes, they were all girls), looked up what the actual cover of Anne’s diary looked like, and they studied pictures of her to make sure that their drawings were accurate. I gave them two days of class time to complete this assignment, but the students who did these examples took them home to complete and spent extra time and effort.

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The “Personal Response” section is always my favorite to read. Ideally the response will be connected to the quotes that the students chose to emphasize from the story. They can comment upon these quotes, make connections between them or to a larger topic, or provide their interpretation of the text. This is great with a long text like the Anne Frank play, but it also helps students to think more deeply about short stories. I haven’t used this strategy with poetry yet, but I have a feeling it would lead to some outstanding projects, and I’m definitely going to try it next year.

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One requirement that instantly improves the quality of everyone’s project is banning white space. (“Fine, except for clouds and eyeballs,” I always end up saying). It forces students to think about the background of their scene, or fill in blank areas with items or symbols from the story. I tell them to add a border if they don’t know where else to start. This also helps to emphasize mood and tone since students have to make decisions about color choices and cannot just leave blank space. We are not Taylor Swift here.

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My students know that I am not a fan of pencils (I always use pens!), and in my class, pencils are for practice. A project in pencil is not complete, it’s just a rough draft. For One-Pagers, students need to go over pencil in pen or marker or crayon or whatever other tool they’d like to use. When students show me their work and it’s just a few things written or drawn in pencil I say, “Oh that’s a good rough draft, I can’t wait to see how it turns out when you finish it!” I spend a lot of my own money and time acquiring plenty of art supplies for students to use because I really value good tools to help students produce work that looks high-quality and that they can be proud of.

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I was so impressed with the effort and thoughtfulness my students put into this assignment, and I’m so glad that they have inspired so many teachers to use this strategy as well. I’m looking forward to participating in the full AVID training in August, and I’ll be sure to update you on other effective strategies that I incorporate into my class. Be sure to tag me on Instagram if your students create their own One-Pagers. I’d love to see them!

Spring Bulletin Board in a Box

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Since I teach middle school I rarely get to do the cutesy seasonal bulletin boards with every student’s name on them, but sometimes I wish I could! My mom, on the other hand, teaches kindergarten, but she gets overwhelmed by switching up her bulletin boards for every season and holiday. So I thought I would do some of the detailed work for her and give her the gift of a bulletin board in a box!

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I purchased this cute bulletin board set from Ms. Thornton’s Thinkers on TeachersPayTeachers.com and printed the letters and flower shapes out on card stock from Michaels. My favorite color schemes for my classroom are Sugar Candy and Soda Pop, which is what I used for the flowers as well.

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It did take a couple of hours to cut out all of the petals and stems, but I like to put on my headphones and listen to the In The Heights soundtrack while I work, so before I knew it I was done (and ugly crying when Abuela Claudia died and cheering for Nina and Usnavi to get together in the end). I arranged each flower set with a paper clip so that my mom can give a set to each student.

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Since the theme is “Look How We Have Bloomed,” I was thinking that each kid could write words they learned to spell on each petal, or maybe a math problem they know how to solve. I am so far removed from the Kindergarten world that I’m not sure exactly what they will write on the petals, but I can’t wait to see pictures of how they turn out!

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I also found this clear plastic box at Michaels, and all of the pieces of the bulletin board fit inside perfectly! Now after she takes it down at the end of the year, my mom can store the letters in the box and she’ll be able to quickly find it again for next spring. I also gave her the blackline copies of the petals and flowers so that she can re-do them for her class next year.

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I taped the title page from the Tpt product to the inside of the box as a label and I think it looks so cute! If you’re looking for a fun bulletin board that you can use every year, this one is adorable. And also, if you’re trying to think of a Teacher Appreciation gift for a teacher who doesn’t love the process of creating bulletin boards, consider making her or him a bulletin board in a box! It was fun for me to do, and it saved my mom a lot of time and energy that she definitely needs for those little ones!

To see the whole process in action, check out my YouTube video!

 

How to Help Your Students Improve Their Writing

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The editing process was not my favorite thing to teach middle schoolers. It was a struggle to pull a rough draft out of many of them, and then going through another lesson on editing at the end of a project used to feel like too much. I couldn’t possibly give all of my students in all of my classes sufficient feedback, and often, when they peer edited (even in guided stations), I wasn’t sure that they were truly receiving useful or applicable critiques.

Enter Newsela. I’ve used Newsela for a long time now as a reading resource. It’s great because each article is rewritten at various lexile levels, so it provides access to information for all of your students. I’d often assign the same article to a class, and then walk around the room as they read on their Chromebooks, noting the difference in vocabulary, syntax and structure between the different level of articles.

I decided to use this feature to help my students analyze and improve their own writing. I chose a high-interest, current article from Newsela (which are easy to find!), and had my students read this article at the lowest reading level, usually around the 2nd grade mark. We summarized the article and noted the length of the sentences, the vocabulary used, etc.

Then I raised the lexile level of the article up a few hundred points. We re-read the article and noted that now, the sentences were more complex, some of the vocabulary words were more sophisticated, and the author included more details in each paragraph.

Finally, we read the article at the maximum reading level and again noted the differences. I had my students choose any other article they would like to read on the site and repeat the same activity, observing the changes as the lexile level increased. I asked them to observe 3-5 specific improvements in the article, and then apply those improvements to their own writing project.

Before we tried this activity, my students would always default to vocabulary as a way to improve their writing. They would simply plug each word into a thesaurus, pick the word that sounded the most complicated, and shove that word back into their essay. Often, the connotation no longer fit the purpose of their essay, and the tone would become clunky and indirect.

I realized, however, that this was really the only strategy they had been taught to improve their writing. I’m a big fan of mentor texts and giving students as many concrete examples of good writing as I possibly can, but I tended to only use these as a jumping off point for writing projects. I see now that they are perfect resources for editing, and I no longer dread the editing phase of my students’ writing projects.

Here is a more thorough example of the kind of lesson I did with my students:

 

Fair Trade Cozy Sweatshirt

I recently shared a post about my favorite t-shirts from PAN Clothing. Now that it’s finally getting cooler here in L.A., I’ve been reaching for my PAN grey fitted sweatshirt. I love that it isn’t bulky or sloppy. It’s the perfect weekend sweatshirt for grabbing a cup of coffee and catching up on reading–but like, in public, not on my couch.

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I love how the band along the bottom of the sweatshirt is wider than on most sweatshirts, which prevents it from flipping under. Because it lays flat around my hips it’s so much more flattering than typical sweatshirts. Still, it’s a simple grey sweatshirt, so it has an unfussy, effortless quality. For reference, I’m wearing a medium for a more fitted look.

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Just like with their t-shirts, PAN donates five textbooks to underserved schools with the purchase of every sweatshirt. Plus, all of their clothing is ethically produced in a vetted factory in China. I love that my purchase supports fair wage employment and quality education for students all over the world.

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I can’t think of any of my friends who wouldn’t love to receive this sweatshirt as a Christmas gift. If you’re still trying to decide what to get your sister-in-law or your roommate, I think this is a great option! It’s ethical, it’s stylish, and it’s super comfy.

I have a few ideas for styling this sweatshirt with some of my dresses during Dressember, so be sure to follow my Instagram to see how it goes!

 

Necklace | The Giving Keys

Jeans | Just Black Denim

Shoes | TOMS

Location | Intelligentsia Coffee

Photographers | Joyetic

10 Fair Trade Dresses for Dressember

Dressember is approaching quickly! For the entire month of December I’ll be wearing a dress every day and posting a picture to my Instagram in order to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to raise money to help combat modern day slavery.

While working to help eradicate slavery, I also want to support fair trade clothing companies, rather than pour more money into companies who exploit their workers (sadly, this includes most of our favorite brands. For more info, see here). Instead, I’ve rounded up ten beautiful dresses that I would love to wear during Dressember, all manufactured by ethical clothing companies.

Albion Dress

I am a sucker for stripes. They are so versatile during Dressember–I pair them with jean jackets, floral scarves, even plaid. I’m definitely going to purchase this adorable long sleeved dress from Albion for $78. I have two pairs of super cute leggings and a swimsuit from Albion, a fair trade company that produces some of the most Instagram-worthy pieces I’ve seen. If you’re in Salt Lake you can visit their store in person (lucky you!).

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Yellow is my color. I love a good mustard yellow sweater or dress, and this one, also by Albion for $68, is gorgeous. It looks so cozy for fall and winter.

Bead & Reel Dress

Bead and Reel carry so many items on my splurge wish list. They are a great source for ethical and female-owned companies. This beautiful wrap dress by Symbology is such a statement piece. It’s an investment at $168, but I imagine that the forgiving cut would allow you to wear this dress through maternity and nursing.

Dressember Dress

I’m planning on purchasing this simple but elegant olive dress at the Dressember party this week. It is manufactured in a fair trade factory in Nepal, and it was designed specifically for us “Dressemberists” by Brit Moore Gilmore of The Giving Keys. This dress is $60.

Everlane dress

Everlane is a great resource for ethical, work appropriate clothing. All of their designs are sleek, modern and simple. I love the stripes on this crisp dress for $75, and they have plenty of other dresses I’m eyeing!

Krochet Kids Dress

This burgundy shade is my favorite for winter, so I’ve been checking out this casual t-shirt dress from Krochet Kids. At $54 it’s the most affordable dress on my list, and I’m already picturing it with black leggings, a jean jacket, and brown boots.

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I love everything about this yellow plaid shift dress from Mata Traders. I literally want to style it exactly like the model and then go play in a field! This one is $89.

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Another option from Mata Traders is this blue ikat shift dress. This dress is so timeless and would be perfect for teaching. It is $98 and manufactured at a fair trade women’s cooperative in India.

People Tree Dress

This sleek black dress is such a staple piece in an ethical wardrobe. It’s $115 from People Tree, an amazing company out of the UK. I ordered a dress from them last year and I had to talk with my credit card company to approve the purchase since it was outside of the United States. It shipped surprisingly quickly, and I’m actually wearing the dress I purchased right now as I type!

Elegantees Dress

I can never have enough black dresses, and I particularly love dresses that are slim on top and then float away at the waist. The neckline on this swing dress from Elegantees is so flattering and feminine. I recently purchased a different dress from Elegantees and tried two different sizes before ultimately returning it since it did not quite fit my body type. Their customer service is fantastic, and shipping was free both ways. I’m going to order this one for $78 to replace my first purchase since I still want to support the company, and I know that my purchase directly supports women in Nepal who have been rescued from human trafficking.

I like to remind my readers that rather than focusing solely on finding good deals, my aim is to find quality, beautiful pieces by companies that respect both their employees and the planet. I buy much less clothing than I used to, but I often pay more per item than I was accustomed to paying before I started purchasing fair trade clothing. The transition takes some getting used to, but know that there is a reason that these dresses cost more than the cheap, fast-fashion dresses at the mall.

I hope that you’ll join me in doing Dressember this year, and that you’ll consider wearing a fair trade dress. Please tag me on Instagram if you end up rocking any of these dresses! Happy Dressember to you!

My Dressember Fundraising Page

Vegan Black Leather Jacket

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Every woman needs a sleek, well-fitting black leather jacket to wear with skinny jeans and a t-shirt, or draped over a dress for a night out. Black leather jackets are so versatile, effortless, and they instantly make your look so much cooler. In this case, the jacket is vegan leather, which is even better!

Brevity’s  Do Anything Jacket is the most comfortable jacket I own. It’s made of soft, vegan leather, and it molds to your body like it was custom made. With a slight lift in the back and expertly placed darting and paneling, it is so slimming and flattering. I usually have a hard time finding jackets that don’t overwhelm my narrow shoulders, but this jacket fits me perfectly.

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I began my journey to build a wardrobe comprised of only fair trade clothing, or clothing made in the United States about a year ago, and one of the first places I looked was Kickstarter. I found so many amazing small companies looking for help financing ethical, beautiful products. These designers took care to produce their products sustainably and with great respect for the humans making them, so it was more difficult to find investors than it would be for many “fast fashion” retailers.

I found Brevity’s Kickstarter campaign through a Facebook friend and immediately fell in love with both their product and their mission. As you can see, the jacket is gorgeous. It is also produced in a women-owned factory in San Francisco, CA. The owner is a young woman who wanted to create a polished jacket that looked professional, but felt like leisure wear. She knew that women needed a sleek jacket that could take them from coffee with a friend, to campus, to a business meeting, to a night out.

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I immediately donated to the Kickstarter campaign, and when I received my Do Anything Jacket I filmed an unboxing video for my YouTube channel. This piece was one of my first steps toward investing in a more ethical, sustainable wardrobe. I love that it is vegan, and it supports female business owners and employees. I’m so glad that the weather is finally cooling down in Southern California so that I can wear it everywhere!

It’s just as comfortable as a hoodie, but infinitely cooler. It completely elevates my look every time I wear it with a more casual outfit, and I recently wore it to a wedding with a fancier dress. It was perfect to throw on during the outdoor reception. I love the classic look of this black jacket, and now it’s also available in a light grey and blush pink.

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My friend who got married was the Facebook friend who had shared the Brevity Kickstarter campaign. The owner and designer of Brevity, Dara Elliott, was a bridesmaid in the wedding, so I actually got to meet her! I was so excited to take a picture with her in my jacket, and I loved hearing from her first hand about the company and the production. She is an incredible businesswoman and I’m so impressed by how she runs her company and produces her amazing pieces.

Check out her gorgeous jackets from Brevity Brand and definitely put one on your Christmas wish list!

My Favorite Fair Trade T-shirts

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Sometimes several of your passions collide into one super, amazing, jumbo passion. Like Hamilton, for example. I remember showing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s White House performance to my 8th graders a few years ago and explaining Hamilton the Musical and one kid said, “Wow, it’s all of your passions in one thing: history, hip hop and musical theater.” Truer words were never spoken, kid. (And he totally got an A).

Anyway, I just found my t-shirt version of Hamilton. Pan Clothing makes fair trade, totally cute t-shirts, and donates five textbooks to classrooms in need for every product sold. Ethical business, relaxed style and support for education all in one!

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Pan Clothing was founded last year by two college students who have a heart for overseas service missions. Jacky and Tanner helped to build schools in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but as they spent time with the teachers and principals, they realized that some classrooms literally only had access to one textbook. They wanted to do their part to support literacy and education in these schools, so they started a t-shirt company with a mission to donate five textbooks for every piece of clothing sold.

They also make men’s t-shirts, but I’m obsessed with their women’s line. These shirts are soft, comfy, and come in three muted, wearable colors. They have a scoop neck, a pocket detail, and they are cut slightly longer in the back. They are perfect everyday t-shirts, and they’ve become weekend staples for me.

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My favorite thing about Pan Clothing is that even though they are a small, startup company, run by two friends who are still in college, they made a commitment to producing their clothing ethically. I had the opportunity to speak with Jacky and Tanner personally, and they told me that they researched Patagonia’s manufacturers and built relationships with some of the same factories. The teacher in me was thinking, “What great problem solving skills! They refused to be limited by the fact that they were a new company and used established businesses’ models as a template for their own business.” They get an A also. 😉

Another impressive aspect of their company is that these t-shirts are only $24. I’ve been getting pretty deep into the fair trade fashion world recently and I don’t think I’ve EVER come across a $24 fair trade t-shirt. Not only are you getting an affordable, ethical t-shirt for $24, but you are also donating five textbooks to a classroom in need with your purchase. Just a win-win-win all around.

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To incorporate yet another of my passions, Jacky and Tanner also have a vlog channel where you can follow along with their travel adventures and see your dollars in action as they bring textbooks to schools around the world. It’s amazing.

I definitely encourage you to order a t-shirt or two for yourself, but you also have the opportunity to win a gift card to Pan over on my Instagram. Follow my account, Pan Clothing, and let us know in a comment where you would like to travel next. Tag the friend you want to travel with! Best of luck to you on the giveaway–now I’m going to go listen to the Hamilton soundtrack…

 

 

*I am not being sponsored by Pan Clothing. They graciously gave me clothing to try, and I genuinely love and support their products and mission! As always, all opinions and reviews are my own.

 

Necklace by The Giving Keys (another ethical company that I love)

Photography by Joyetic (a husband and wife photography team who also strive to be ethical consumers)

(Check out my YouTube video about Pan Clothing!)