Programs - 2007
Authors in the
Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
Shared at the Social Responsibility SIG IRA, Toronto,
See also: Literacy
as a Path to Hope,
Alma Flor Ada's website, and
F. Isabel Campoy's website
The content of this workshop is further developed in the book: Alma Flor
Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. Authors in the Classroom.
A Transformative Education Process. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon,
2004. The book can be obtained from www.delsolbooks.com.
Education as defined here, seeks the emancipation of the individual
as an instrument for social liberation and the attainment
of equity, inclusion, justice, and peace. It promotes developing
all aspects of intelligence and strengthening critical and reflective
abilities through practices that are interactive,
creative and joyful.
Transformative pedagogy supports the creation of loving and caring
relationships and environments, and recognizes diversity as essential
to life. It fosters respect
for all forms of diversity (gender, sexual preferences, culture, ethnicity
and beliefs). It recognizes the prevalence of biases and prejudice
and the need to
unlearn racist practices and assumptions in order to achieve a just society.
In the authors’ interpretation of Transformative Education, a number
of fields provide ideas for a comprehensive understanding of its fundamental
Human beings are beings of knowledge. To construct new knowledge is to foster
the human essence.
Human beings are beings of love and caring. All human beings
have the right to attain their fullest potential regardless
of gender or
any other differences.
Human beings are intrinsically drawn to beauty and creativity.
Human beings are the sole constructors of social reality and as such are responsible
for improving it.
The nature of Earth is diversity. Human beings are as diverse as the reality
of this planet. They all deserve respect in their
Prejudice and bias have been prevalent throughout human history. Most cultures
are ethnocentric and promote seeing others as
less than themselves and/or dangerous. The majority of people don’t see their own biases.
Biases are destructive, and when they become institutionalized they bring about
injustice and even
crime against other human beings.
Most forms of public education, anywhere in the world, promote the domestication
and colonization of the human mind in order
to maintain the status quo.
Language is one of the strongest elements of self-definition as well as one
of the most significant elements of a culture.
BENEFITS OF SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS
self-publication of books, in the classroom or school, brings about
multiple benefits. Self-published books will:
bridges between home and school, by increasing mutual knowledge
of each other, in the process of sharing life experiences and personal
to deeper understanding of everyday life.
out the artist, the creator hidden in each of us.
the validation of life experiences and our history.
understanding of others, bridging cultural differences.
us, as protagonists of our own books, to look at our lives from
the perspective of a protagonist,
not just a secondary character.
to creating a print-rich environment in our schools and classrooms
and in the homes of our students.
an opportunity for children and their parents to engage in meaningful,
valued treasures to keep as reminders of important moments of our
lives, and to preserve
those memories throughout time.
beautiful and valuable presents.
Be authors, artists, creators
transformation in our lives, and the lives of others.
And, of course, these books will have a definite effect in enriching
and improving students’ literacy
FRIENDS / AMIGOS
lesson Using the Creative Dialogue Process
Friends (in Spanish Amigos,
in Haitian Creole Zanmi)
describes the life of squares
in the same town but keep
lives from each
One day, two
circles went for a roll
and met a small
young squares they made
and when little triangles
them they could make
and fly. They
they could do
not do separate.
are samples that
prompt the dialogue
the beauty of the
dialogue is that
it will incorporate
real life situations
of the children.
The questions are
suggested as dialogue
need not be asked
in a normal
format. We separated
them into phases
to give an
idea of the
because the conversations
in the class tend
to remain at the
Descriptive and Personal phases
not reach the very
Phase that leads
- Questions to ascertain
of the story
and its concepts.
many sides does a square have? Are all sides the same size?
many sides does a rectangle have? A triangle? Do circles have sides?
did the large figures say to the little
ones? (Personal Interpretive
- Questions to invite
sharing personal experiences, feelings and emotions.
does it feel when other children want to play with you? When they
does it feel when other people treat you badly? When you treat
the big squares’ reason to forbid
the little ones to play
with others valid? Why?
all people who have long hair (or live in the same street)
think alike? Have the same taste? Can we
tell the feelings of a person just by the way the
looks? By the person’s language? The person’s
do you think the shapes had such a wonderful time playing together?
difficult things that can happen when people who are different
good things can happen? How can we promote the good things?
Transformative Creative Phase
to promote transformative attitudes.
can we do when there are children who do not want to play with
can you do if you see someone treating someone badly?
there someone you have not been friends with that you can invite
to play with you? Someone you can learn to know better?
CONNECTIONS WITH THE HOME
CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Book "I Am"
F. Isabel Campoy
|When I am by myself
and I close my eyes
I'm a twin,
I'm a dimple in a chin
I'm a room full of toys
I'm a squeaky noise
I'm a gospel song
I'm a gong
I'm a leaf turning red
I'm a loaf of brown bread
I'm a whtever I want to be
and anything I care to be
And when I open my eyes
What I want to be
I am a woman, creator of life.
I am Latina, passionate, familiar.
I am an emigrant,
conscious of my two horizons.
I am bilingual,capable of negotiating contradictions.
I am the granddaughter of peasants.
I am the daughter of tenacity and love.
I am mestiza of cultures, of races,
of ways to see life.
I am a voice without fear.
I am here, building new roads
to go forward,
true to myself.
OWN “I AM” BOOK
- Metaphoric “I Am” book
Present yourself in terms of: colors, fragrances, feelings, food,
music, song. As a part
ocean, mountains, desert, fields,
trees or flowers, animals,
object in your
element of your
life, a culture
- Relationship “I Am” book
Present you as daughter/son; sister/brother; aunt/uncle, etc.
- Acrostic “I
Use each letter of your name to guide the structure of the book
or Original structure “I Am” book
Dare to be creative: the sky is the limit
2. CREATE A COLLECTIVE “I AM” POEM
WITH THE CLASS
your poem with the students and ask each one to give you one sentence.
3. ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO CREATE THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL POEMS.
4. CREATE A CLASS BOOK
Include your poem, the students’ collective poem and their
THE CLASS BOOK
THEIR OWN POEMS
BOOKS FOR THE
SECOND CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Where I Come From
I Come From
F. Isabel Campoy
|I come from a street that leads
to the desert
and from a house with balconies facing the
||I come from clothes drying under
and the smell of soap, of Mondays, of work.
|I come from Marîa and Diego,
peasants and poets, laborers of love.
||I come from jumping rope and
molding mud into cups and saucers, building
castles in the sand.
|I come from rice and fried chicken,
watermelon, tortillas y pan.
||I come from poverty and hard
from honor and pride.
|I come from a country that lost
a war against itself
and suffered 36 years of crime, of silence,
||I come from the certainty of
so that together we create new days of peace.
|Full of compassion,
||full of pride and pain,
||I say: This is where I come from.
1. CREATE YOUR OWN WHERE I COME FROM BOOK
To write your own Where I Come From poem
you can follow these steps, but do not feel limited
them. Feel free to begin each sentences with the
come from” or “Where I’m from."
- Imagine yourself at a specific
age in childhood: 7, 8, 9, 12 years old.
- List some of the most memorable items you
see in your childhood home.
- Step outside. List what you see around you:
in the front yard, the backyard, the
street, the neighborhood.
- State the names of relatives or caretakers,
those who link you to your past.
- Write down frequently heard words, sayings
or expressions. Which sentences that
you heard over and over would distinguish
your family from others?
- Name food and dishes from family gatherings,
daily meals or special treats.
- Think of social, political, cultural
or educational ideas that were reinforced
you as you were growing up. How do
they reflect on who you are today?
- Name the place where your childhood
memories are kept: realistically
album, diaries, boxes) and metaphorically
(branches of a tree, shady porch).
- Think about the beginning and ending of
your poem: where you are from, who
you are, where you are going.
2. SHARE YOUR BOOK WITH THE
AND INVITE THEM TO CREATE THEIRS.
3. GUIDE YOUR STUDENTS IN THE PROCESS OF CREATING THEIR BOOKS.
4. DO “AUTHORS VISITS” TO OTHER CLASSROOMS TO READ AND SHARE
THIRD CREATIVE ACTIVITY: A Person in My Life
It will be easy to have our students write a poem
to an important person in their lives by simply
following this process.
- First create your own poem following the process,
in order that you can model it with conviction
- Invite the group to be silent, to have paper
and pencil ready, and to be prepared to write
following your prompts.
- Invite the reflection of how much we owe
the people around us, who have allowed
us to survive, who support us, to celebrate
who we are. Then ask
them to think about one of the many people in their lives who are
Emphasize that it could be anyone, a grandparent, a parent, a sibling,
a relative, a neighbor, a teacher, a friend.
- Read each of the prompts slowly. Give your
own response to the prompt. Pause to give
them time to write. Then repeat successively
You will find here the prompts, as well as my
own response to them.
Be aware that this process can bring about emotions,
be ready to accept them, validate them, be supportive
of the person feeling the emotions,
interrupting the activity. Trust the process. It is very enriching.
|A person in my life
||I hear her steps as she enters
||I feel she takes me in her arms.
||I smell her soft fragrance of
||I pretend to be still sleeping.
||I experience her brisk steps
as she takes me
||to the fields.
||I suffer knowing not every child
||this kind of love.
||I wish my children would get
to know who she was.
||I decide I will try to share
what I learned from her.
||I hope her dreams for justice,
equality and peace
||will come true.
||I believe in life and the power
||I am a grateful granddaughter.