Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Multicultural Literature : A Workshop for the Middle Grades
Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Workshop 4 Workshop 5 Workshop 6 Workshop 7 Workshop 8
Workshop 8: Social Justice and Action - Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jimenez
Authors and Literary Works
Video Summary
Teaching Strategies
Student Work
Interactive Workbook -- Explore two poems using strategies from these workshops. Go.
Channel-Talk -- Share your views on the discussion board. Go.


This program begins with profiles of the featured authors, then moves on to Chicago, Illinois, where Lisa Espinosa's seventh-grade students explore themes of representation through literature, documentary film, and photography. The students look critically at past and current media depictions of African Americans, Latino/as, and Native Americans, and examine ways in which artists and writers from within those cultural groups, including Joseph Bruchac and Francisco Jiménez, represent themselves. The students analyze the individual works, make comparisons across texts, and make connections to their own lives. In a culminating project, they represent their own experience through black-and-white photography and personal essays. Teachers, family, and community members gather at a local coffeehouse for an exhibit of the students' work.

One of Espinosa's goals is to help students recognize the pervasiveness of stereotypes and understand the danger of allowing "one dominant myth to tell the whole story of a group of people." As teacher educator Patricia Enciso observes, "Lisa is developing a curriculum around the contrast between misrepresentation and self-representation. Through this curriculum she's drawing upon what could be called 'counterstories,' or stories that challenge myths and stereotypes. She is using literary texts, but she is also using photography as a parallel art form to help children understand what happens when someone else is representing you through a limited lens."

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