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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

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ISBN: 9781412918152