Inventing a Classroom: Life in a Bilingual, Whole Language Learning Community

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Stenhouse Publishers, 1994 - Education - 274 pages
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What are the patterns of teaching and learning that make a classroom holistic? How do children invent oral and written language? How do they create the culture and curriculum of a classroom? How does the spirit of community and collaboration develop among children and teachers? What are the relationships between literacy, schooling, and socialization as they form among the children?

These are a few of the broad questions that Kathy Whitmore and Caryl Crowell answer in this absorbing portrait of Caryl's third-grade classroom, "the Sunshine Room." Over the span of a school year, we watch the students in this bicultural classroom within a bilingual, working-class neighborhood work and develop together as a community of learners. It is the story of how the Sunshine Room, like many whole language classrooms, invents itself; and how in this process the children themselves are continually inventing oral and written language, culture, and curriculum.

In two separate collaborative voices, the authors carry readers through several critical events in the life of the classroom: the process through which the children and the teachers negotiate the curriculum, the creation of a theme study about the Middle Ages, and a vicarious experience of the Middle East war through children's literature and discussions. On an individual level, the deep friendship between Seaaira, an English-speaking child from the volunteer community, and Lolita, a bilingual Latina from the barrio, is symbolic of the bicultural experience fostered in the Sunshine Room.

 

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Contents

3
49
5
93
Inventing Culture
173
Inventing a Classroom
213
Copyright

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Page 261 - Meek, M. 1988. How Texts Teach What Readers Learn. Stroud, England: Thimble Press.
Page 265 - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Illustrated by Zena Bernstein. New York: Atheneum.

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About the author (1994)

Kathryn F. Whitmore (Ph.D. University of Arizona) and her coauthor,nbsp;Caryl G. Crowell (M.Ed. University of Arizona) have many characteristics in common. They are both working mothers and whole language teacher-researchers who work to challenge the status quo in educational institutions.Kathy teaches in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Iowa. Caryl teaches third grade at the Borton Primary Magnet School in Tucson, where this story takes place. Exploring issues related to cultural and linguistic diversity, advocating for their own children as students, writing in a variety of genres, and an appreciation for desert dwelling are a few of the interests Kathy and Caryl share. Together they invented themselves as collaborative researchers in this study.

Caryl G. Crowell (M.Ed. University of Arizona) and her coauthor, Kathryn F. Whitmore (Ph.D. University of Arizona) have many characteristics in common. They are both working mothers and whole language teacher-researchers who work to challenge the status quo in educational institutions.Kathy teaches in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Iowa. Caryl teaches third grade at the Borton Primary Magnet School in Tucson, where this story takes place. Exploring issues related to cultural and linguistic diversity, advocating for their own children as students, writing in a variety of genres, and an appreciation for desert dwelling are a few of the interests Kathy and Caryl share. Together they invented themselves as collaborative researchers in this study.

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