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

teacher stuff haul

teacher haul

I realized that I say, “So I’m excited about that…” after every item, but I really am excited!  What new items are you taking with you back to school after the break?

baby hugg-a-planet

girl online by zoe sugg

joyeux noel

ikea sticky notes

ikea wrapping paper

similar ikea glasses

the limited sweaters

similar olivia + joy wristlet

brush with greatness alittleaboutalot brush set

favorite book foldable

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The most popular books with my 6th graders this year were YA novels that became movies (Divergent, Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, etc).  This is probably partly because those books got so much publicity (plus they are awesome).  My students usually don’t think to ask their friends or teachers for good book recommendations, so I created a project where my kids broke down the elements of their favorite books and practiced sharing their favorites with the class.

My favorite novel is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  It is a quirky, laugh-out-loud funny, off-beat type of book that I picked up during my freshman year of college after a recommendation from my friend Lauren.  (See how useful recommending books can be?).  I based my example off of this novel.

I cut construction paper in half length-wise, and then made all the foldables myself while my students were taking their finals.  (This was a last week of school activity).  Here is a video on how to make the blank foldables:

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I’m not a great artist, but I copied an element of the cover of the actual book and did my best to match the font.  I required my students to draw cover art as well.

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I wanted the Setting tab at the top because that is the smallest tab to write on.  I listed each category in order by how much room students would need to adequately explain that element of the story.  (P.S. My writing is quite crude and simple in each of these examples so that it could serve as a realistic 6th grade model).

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The conflict is where I wanted my students to draw other people in.  They needed to explain enough about the story to get readers interested, without giving away the resolution.  The crazier the details about the story, the better!

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This is generally the hardest section for students to complete, but theme is something that we have been working on identifying all year, so it also served as a bit of a cumulative assessment.  I remind them to consider the question, What does this book say about how life works?

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There is really only enough room here to list two to three characters.  I asked students to just list the characters and then give a brief, but colorful description of each one.

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As with the conflict section, the summary should leave readers interested in finding out more about the story.  There is no need for elaborate explanations.  Students should simply try to hook other students into wanting to read the full book.

And there you go!  This project took two class periods, lots of construction paper, and my big box of colored pencils.  I made the blank foldables, and I told students to bring copies of their favorite book from this school year.  I kept the completed projects, so I am going to make a display board at the beginning of the school year so that my new students will have plenty of book recommendations at their fingertips.

As they worked, I also played this YouTube video by BooksAndQuills to encourage my students to seek out book recommendations and discover new books.

how to take notes in college history classes

I have good news for those of you who hate to take notes.

I am a compulsive note-taker, but I have been doing it wrong.  I just completed my ninth year of college (Bachelors + Bible college + teaching credential + Masters) and I have boxes of binders and notebooks full of the copious notes I took for dozens and dozens of courses.  I always think that I’m going to go back and flip through a notebook and find some profound and/or useful nugget of information, but I have yet to do so.  I kind of enjoy taking lecture notes, and it helps me to interact with a text to take notes as I read, but there is a better way.

As far as I know, this will only be useful for history students.  In your upper division courses, you will probably receive a massive required reading list of monographs and articles, and it will be impossible to read every single word and take notes on every single section.  Fortunately, your professors won’t actually expect you to know every minute detail of every text they assign.  There are certain aspects of a text, however, that you will want to make sure you are familiar with.

Oftentimes, my binder full of notes didn’t include these crucial elements.  But this semester I was teaching full time, in grad school, completing a super annoyingly time-consuming aspect of teacher preparation, and teaching music lessons after school.  So I desperately needed a way to streamline my note-taking and reading.  Here is what I started doing:

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You can download this form by clicking the on the file below.  Sorry it looks so small on screen!

Notes

If you are reading a monograph or an article for a discussion course, or even to incorporate into a short paper or book review, one page of notes should be enough.  The important thing is that you are taking purposeful and relevant notes, and those will help you more than my notebooks full of fun facts.

Title & Author: self-explanatory

Argument: If you don’t know what the author’s argument is, no amount of quotes or details is going to help you.  Nail down the main argument.  You will find this in the Introduction.  What is the author trying to prove in this book or article?  If you do understand the argument, you will be able to interact with any other portion of the book.  (Note: This method will only work for a monograph, not for a synthesis. A monograph contains an argument, while a synthesis is just an overall history of a topic.)

Historiography: Historiography is (for lack of a better explanation) the history of the history.  What have other people written about this topic already?  Is your author trying to prove them wrong, or add a missing piece to the story?  Is this a relatively new field of history, such as the importance of animals in combat in WWI?  Or, you might have a fairly old monograph, and you will need to take the timing into consideration.  Is this a book about race, written before the Civil Rights era?  Address any relevant issues in your notes so that they can inform your reading and analysis.

Categories of Analysis: A category of analysis is a lens through which a historian looks at an event.  You might read an article about women during WWII.  The  category of analysis, then, is probably gender.  Other examples of categories of analysis are race, labor, economics, migration, change over time, agriculture, social history, etc.  The categories of analysis are usually related to the argument.  If an author argues that horses were vital to the success of the Comanche tribe against the Spanish, then husbandry is a category of analysis.  Chapter titles are usually your best hint for recognizing categories of analysis.

Methodology: How did this author conduct his or her research, or structure the book?  Sometimes authors will do a comparative study and compare two seemingly different things, and prove that they are similar.  Or an author will do a case study and show how an individual story can shed light on an entire event/ situation.  Oftentimes the author will explain the methodology explicitly in the Introduction.

Evidence: What did the author use to prove his or her argument?  Census records, diaries, presidential speeches?  The evidence usually consists of primary source documents.  You can be critical of the evidence, too.  Did the author use enough sources?  Were these sources credible?  If you are writing a book review, you will definitely want to be mindful of the evidence the author chose to include.

Other notes: Here is where I get to indulge in a little trivia gathering, or jot down interesting quotes.  I can’t just quit cold turkey!

Side note: This is a great way to outline your own papers as well.  When you don’t have these elements worked out, you tend to have writer’s block at 3:00am the night before the paper is due.

Here is an example of some of my notes from last semester…

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My professor specifically only wanted one page of notes for two articles, so I had to adjust my format a little.  But with just half a page of notes per article, I was able to fully engage in classroom discussion and I had a clear understanding of the material.

Let me know if this is useful! 🙂

barnes & noble mini haul

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Barnes & Noble, so teachers get 25% off all their purchases!  I needed a couple of things, so I headed on down this Saturday, and this is what I picked up:

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This calendar is actually for my piano studio, but I still got the discount.  I was surprised that the calendar section was already pretty much picked over, but at least I got this one for 50% off (plus my 25% discount, so 75% off!)  I just think it’s a nice little touch to put up a calendar that your students like to check out each month.  I try to just follow my students’ interests, so in the past I have done things like High School Musical, Taylor Swift, Glee, Despicable Me, Angry Birds, and last year, Angry Birds Star Wars (oh yeah!).  I also write all my students’ birthdays on the calendar and try to remember to bring them a little treat on the lesson closest to their special day.  It’s a little thing, but I think it has contributed to the fact that many of my students have stayed with me for EIGHT birthdays! 🙂

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I’ve been eyeing these bookends for a while, so I went ahead and indulged a little since I was going to get my discount.  I am going to begin reading “The Cay” with my 6th graders next week, and I thought these would help me keep my class set nice and organized.  I’m going to assign one student per week as The Librarian, and he or she will make sure that we get all of the books back at the end of the period in a nice straight line between the bookends.  I have a lot of teal in my room, too, so they look super cute.

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We love John Green’s Crash Course US History YouTube channel already, so I was excited when I found out that he is also an award-winning author.  I read “The Fault in Our Stars” over Christmas break (loved it), and it is currently being passed around between some of my higher-level (and more mature) 6th graders.  I have read a few chapters of “An Abundance of Katherines,” and while I’m enjoying it, I don’t think I want to be the one to provide it to 11-year olds.  The subject matter is a little bit more mature, but I can see high school students really enjoying this book.  I’ll save it in case I end up teaching high school, and I’m intrigued by the story line in the meantime.  John Green can do no wrong!  

 

I usually do more damage at Barnes & Noble, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to reign in my spending.  Maybe I will get a gift card one of these days and have a few more items to share another haul post.

Did you get any great deals with your teacher discount this week?