Because we can change the world: a practical guide to building cooperative, inclusive classroom communities

| December 3, 2010

Title: Because we can change the world : a practical guide to building cooperative, inclusive classroom communities
Author: Mara Sapon-Shevin.
Publisher: Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Corwin Press, c2010
Call Number: LB3013 .S26 2010

From the Publisher:

Because We Can Change the World is a powerful antidote to the bullying, intolerance, and exclusion that are all too commonplace in our schools. Through helpful insights, practical strategies, and a powerful vision grounded in social justice, this book gives teachers the inspiration and hope they need to carry on.”
—Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“I have personally seen classroom cultures completely transformed as a result of using the techniques in this book. If you don’t already use this book to promote community, collaboration, and inclusion in your school, do it immediately so students can learn that inclusion is more than a place or a policy—it is a commitment to acceptance, an honoring of difference, and, as Sapon-Shevin so eloquently reminds us, a belief that we just might ‘change the world.'”
—Paula Kluth, Educational Consultant

Change the world, one classroom at a time!

It is impossible for most students to achieve academically if they do not feel safe, supported, welcomed, and accepted. By structuring democratic classrooms as models of diversity, cooperation, and inclusion, teachers can help children learn skills and values that lay a foundation for good citizenship and will make a differences in their lives now and in the future.

Mara Sapon-Shevin provides a unique vision of elementary classrooms that allow all children to experience academic success. This long-awaited new edition of a highly acclaimed book:

  • Calls on all educators to create diverse, inclusive classrooms and promote social justice
  • Discusses the barriers to creating cooperative classrooms and how they can be overcome
  • Includes activities, songs, and children’s literature that promote acceptance and understanding
  • Includes new “Reframing Our Work” sections with reflective questions that help readers examine their own beliefs and teaching practices

With updated resources and a stronger emphasis on differentiated instruction, Because We Can Change the World gives teachers the vision, courage, and strategies to make the world a better place, starting with their own classrooms.

About the Author:

Mara Sapon-Shevin is Professor of Inclusive Education in the Teaching and Leadership Department of the School of Education at Syracuse University. She teaches in the University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education Teacher Education Program that prepares teachers for inclusive, heterogeneous classrooms. She frequently consults with districts that are attempting to move towards more inclusive schools and respond more positively to student diversity, providing workshops and support for teachers, students, parents and administrators.

Mara presents frequently on inclusive education, cooperative learning, social justice education, differentiated instruction, friendship, community building, school reform, and teaching for diversity. She works with other educators and community members to design workshops and learning experiences to help participants build relationships across ethnic and racial groups and collaborate for friendship and peaceful co-existence. Mara can often be found leading conference groups in community building, singing and dancing.

The author of over 150 books, book chapters and articles, Mara is also the co-author of a seven session curriculum entitled, “Endracism/Endinjustice: Challenging Oppression, Building Allies” designed for high school and college students. She is the co-producer of a DVD entitled “and nobody said anything: Uncomfortable Conversations about Diversity” that explores critical teaching incidents on social justice for faculty in colleges and universities. Her most recent book is Widening the Circle: The Power of Inclusive Classrooms (Boston: Beacon Press, 2007).

On the Web:


Mara Sapon-Shevin