Essay. Poetry. Book Clubs. Digital Composition. Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher extend their work in 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents by taking a deep dive into four essential studies. Their aim is to move beyond compliance and formula, and to develop students' agency, independence, and decision-making skills. These four practices, they argue, have the power to transform students' relationship with literacy-and truly prepare them for the more demanding work of college.
A central belief underlies each of the four studies-that composing involves choosing, picking among options. It is not following a pre-set pattern. But if students are to make these choices, they need to be aware of the moves and possibilities open to them. That's what this book does-it shows how teacher demonstrations, the skillful use of mentor texts, effective feedback (and many other tools) can make choices possible.
By reimagining how we teach essay, poetry, book clubs, and digital composition, we can open the door to more engaged, connected, and challenging learning.
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 (with Kelly Gallagher) of Four Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency as well as the bestselling 180 Days. Penny is the author of Book Love and Write Beside Them, which won the NCTE 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. Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) taught at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California for 35 years. He is the coauthor, with Penny Kittle, of Four Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency, as well as the bestselling 180 Days. Kelly is also the author of several other books on adolescent literacy, most notably Readicide and Write Like This. He 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.