Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Civil Rights Movement

Title: “The Civil Rights Movement” (Lives in Crisis Series)

Author: Nigel Ritchie

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Lesson plan

The intended age group for this book is 9-13. This book is about slavery, segregation and racial discrimination in the United States until the 1960’s. Divided into sections, each one depicts a specific event related to the Civil Rights Movement. It talks about Martin Luther King, Jr.; about his life, his contributions, the struggles he encountered, and his famous speech: I Have a Dream. Vivid images and photographs supplement this historical fiction. Such dramatic illustrations serve as an aid to link the facts to the actual events.

This title falls under element 4: Social Movements and Social Change. Evidently, the book encompasses the process of putting an end to slavery and discrimination. Actions were taken in order for change to occur and bring justice and equality amongst every individual, Black or White. Specifically, it teaches students about the acts and sacrifices people went through to accomplish equality in the United States. The students are able to compare what our country was like many decades ago and after the Civil Rights Movement. Children will be able to see that anything is possible, just as long as you want it bad enough. It fosters the belief that we all have and are entitle to equal rights and have to fight for our rights, making them into strong, independent individuals.

As an educator, after explaining the Civil Rights Movement and the racial discrimination to my students, I would have them reflect on how they feel about the segregation. They would go on to write a speech, similar to that of Martin Luther King, Jr., where they outline what their dream is. I would provide them with various topics that affect our nation now for them to write about how to make changes to better our country. Then, each student would draw a picture and read their speech out loud to the class.

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