Date of Completion


Embargo Period



culture, diversity, writing, elementary, preservice, teaching, third space, hybridity, students

Major Advisor

Dr. Douglas Kaufman

Associate Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Doyle

Associate Advisor

Dr. David Moss

Field of Study

Curriculum and Instruction


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Student diversity in U.S. classrooms is increasing at an unprecedented pace. In schools, the cultural disconnect between teachers and students can result in opportunity gaps, exacerbated by misunderstandings of students’ out-of-school literacies as valid; low expectations by teachers of diverse students; and differences in the ways students use technology as literacy tools (Au, 1993; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Langer, 1991; Kinloch, 2011; Warschauer & Matuchniak, 2010). Implementing a culturally responsive or relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 1994), or a funds of knowledge approach (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992) has shown success in learning about students’ cultural identities and leveraging them in the classroom. Yet, neither approach has been widely implemented in schools (Amaro-Jiménez & Semington, 2011; Au, 2001; Gay, 2000). Examining how particular instructional philosophies lend themselves to these approaches may provide the key to connecting teachers and their diverse students. Writer’s workshop is one such philosophy. It demands teachers become “learning historians” (Graves, 1994) in order to access and integrate students’ cultural identities into the writing curriculum. There is little evidence in the research to show how writer’s workshop assists in this process. Informed by cultural identity (Bhabha, 1994; Hall, 1990), hybridity (Bhabha, 1994; Moje, Ciechanowski, Kramer, Ellis, Carrillo, & Collazo, 1994), and third space (Gutiérrez, 2008; Moje et al., 2004), I investigated one suburban fifth grade elementary teacher’s writer’s workshop to explore the ways she accessed her students’ cultural identities, adapted her curricula, and encouraged or limited a third space in her writing classroom.