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.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Layla's Head Scarf

Element Two: Respect For Others

Title: "Layla's Head Scarf"
Miriam Cohen
Illustrated By: Ronald Himler
Suggested Uses: k-3

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Summary: Layla is a new student in the first grade, and she is very shy. Layla wears a head scarf which some of the children mistake for a hat and make comments like, " why don't you take off your hat". Layla feels different from the other children and doesn't want to participate in some of the activities that they do. But, when the teacher asks the children to work on an art project entitled " Our Families", everyone draws a picture of their family and then shares it with the class. Layla draws a picture of her family and all the ladies are wearing head scarfs, the teacher replies that "it's beautiful". All of the children got a chance to show their picture of their family, and the children also got a chance to see what other families may look like.

Element 2: Respect For Others: The book really highlights the idea of respect for others because it depicted children from different cultures, and the teacher gave the children the opportunity to draw a picture of their family that they would share with the class. Each of the children shared what their families looked like and some of the things that made their families unique. The teacher was able to do this in a safe, nurturing environment of the classroom and it promoted tolerance and acceptance for all the children in her classroom.

Activity: I would use this book in my class to introduce the idea of multiculturalism. After reading the book aloud to the class, I would use the same activity as the teacher did in her class and would ask my students to draw me a picture of their family.

Lesson Plan:

- Megan Carricarte

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