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Classrooms of Wonder and Wisdom

Classrooms of Wonder and Wisdom
Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking for the 21st Century

September 2010 | 192 pages | Corwin

"The authors illuminate theoretical ideas with insightful, practical ways for teachers to encourage students to develop the critical and creative thinking necessary in a flourishing democratic society."
—Angela Ward, Acting Associate Dean, University of Saskatchewan College of Education

"An excellent resource filled with useful strategies and approaches for creating student-centered learning through reading and writing."
—Eric A. Combs, Teacher, Fairborn City Schools, OH

Discover how to enhance learning for your students

Engaging from the first page, this is a book that you "do" rather than read. Award-winning authors Kurtis S. Meredith and Jeannie L. Steele actively guide teachers through the learning process with this well-tested and successful literacy-based professional development program. Educators are encouraged to assess their knowledge, make predictions, ask questions, and track their own progress to deepen their understanding of teaching and learning processes. Grounded in a framework that has been effectively implemented in more than 30 countries, the carefully designed sequence prepares teachers to help students:

  • Become lifelong learners with the capacity to integrate knowledge and experiences across content areas
  • Efficiently sort information and transform learning into action
  • Contextualize knowledge by adding new information to what they already know
  • Enhance their capacity to meet 21st-century demands

Each chapter includes an overview of expected outcomes, self-evaluation activities, learning experiences, and reflection exercises. This action-oriented guidebook is immediately applicable and is ideal for individual or group professional development.


About the Authors
1. Beginning a Professional Development Journey
Evocation 1  
Outcome Expectations  
Evocation 2  
The Change Process  
About This Text  
Assumptions, Values, and Beliefs  
The Role of Critical Thought  
Outcome Expectations  
Chapter Reflection  
Journal Entry  
2. A Framework for Teaching and Learning
Outcome Expectations  
Experiential Framework Lesson  
Examining the Framework  
The ERR Framework Revisited  
Critical Thinking and the Framework  
Framework Strategies Organizational Chart  
Chapter Reflection  
3. Narrative Text and the Power of Questioning
Outcome Expectations  
Teacher Questioning  
Model ERR Lesson With a Narrative Text  
Narrative Lesson Analysis  
ERR as a Multitiered Model  
4. Advancing Critical Thought
Outcome Expectations  
Realization of Meaning  
Creating an Environment for Critical Thought  
Essential Classroom Elements of Critical Thinking  
Lesson Analysis  
Chapter Summary  
5. Framework Strategies
Outcomes of Using the ERR Framework  
Other Writing-for-Thinking Strategies  
Chapter Reflection  
6. Cooperative Learning
Outcome Expectations  
Classrooms as Environments for Thinking  
What Is Cooperative Learning?  
The Cooperative-Learning Classroom  
Sample Cooperative-Learning Lessons  
Brief Cooperative Strategies  
Cooperative Math Activities  
Brief Exercises for Problem Solving and Discussion  
Chapter Reflection  
7. Creating Thoughtful Readers
Outcome Expectations  
Discussion of a Thoughtful Reading Process  
Readers' Workshop  
The Four Cornerstones of Readers' Workshop  
Literary Letters  
Book Talks  
Readers' Workshop Rules  
Summary of Readers' Workshop  
Analysis of Reader's Workshop and the ERR Framework  
Content Reading and Readers' Workshop  
Applying the Reading Process to Content Areas  
Applying Readers' Workshop Process to Science  
Reading in Content Areas - The Link to Math  
Mathematics Is More Than a Collection of Concepts and Skills  
Chapter Reflection  
8. Learning to Write, Writing to Learn
Outcome Expectations  
Writing Resurgence  
Writing Defined  
Writer's Workshop  
Chapter Reflection  
9. Reflection
Learning Centered  
Transformative Experiences  
Final Reflection  
What to Do Now?  
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F

“This book provides strategies that are varied and vital for student success, especially as critical thinkers.”

Tamara Rhone, Secondary Social Studies Educator
Public Schools, Denver, CO

“I wish this text were available today—I could really use it in the Center of Excellence I direct! In fact, I really could have used it a year and a half ago—it would have saved me HOURS of work!”

Victoria Ridgeway Gillis, Professor
Clemson University, SC

“The author's excellent exercises and examples effectively illustrate the application of the instructional strategies. These examples are at the heart of the text and are the major reason it will be successful in improving classroom instruction.”

Connie Harris, Gifted Language Arts Teacher
Oaks Middle School, Fort Myers, FL

“An excellent resource filled with useful strategies and approaches for creating student-centered learning through reading and writing.”

Eric A. Combs, Teacher
Fairborn City Schools, Fairborn, OH

"Jeannie Steele and Kurt Meredith illuminate theoretical ideas with insightful, practical ways for teachers to encourage students to develop the critical and creative thinking necessary in a flourishing democratic society."

Angela Ward, Acting Associate Dean
University of Saskatchewan College of Education

"The authors bring their extraordinary experience to the task of masterfully suggesting powerful ways to effectively address the question of how we can best prepare students for life in the twenty-first century and bring about lasting change. They share a wealth of ideas for effective learning experiences in a range of professional development settings."

Adria Klein, Professor Emeritus
CSU San Bernardino, CA
Key features
  • Lists and overview of and expected outcomes for each chapter, outlining the purpose and desired results for the reader
  • Sample lessons to introduce learning methods and strategies
  • Writing prompts and exercises designed to encourage self-evaluation and serve as tools for building upon individual learning experiences
  • Chapter reflections sections that offer overviews of each topic and discussion points for follow up and further development and exploration

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: Beginning a Professional Development Journey

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ISBN: 9781412918152