Friday, July 6, 2012
Author: Diana Cohn
Illustrator: Francisco Delgado
Grade Level: K & Up
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Summary: This book is about a boy named Carlos and his mother. Carlos is the narrator and tells the story of how his mother's struggle to provide for her family after she moves to the United States from Mexico. Mama, Carlos' mother, is a janitor in Los Angeles, CA and decides to fight for her rights by holding a strike with her fellow union workers. With the help of the other union workers from around the state and country and other various people, Mama and Carlos are able to stand for what they believe in and accomplish a common goal of getting higher pay and respect for the union workers. The illustrations are vivid and capture exactly what the author is saying in the story. This book is a wonderful depiction of how organization and social movements can create social change when people work together and believe that yes, they can!
Element 4 (Social movement and Social Change): This book really represents element four because it shows children that no matter what age you are, you do matter and you can make a difference. Carlos' mother needed his help by understanding that she would be out of work and doing something for the community by participating in the strike and needed his understanding which he gave her. Carlos represents all children that would like to help out and create change as well. He started a movement in his classroom to help out their parents in the strike, and decided to help her again stand for other people that needed their help at the end of the story. His show of courage would inspire any child that reads this book because no matter the age, all you need is the desire and you can create social change.
Activity: This book can be read with any class as young as kindergarten but the grade level in which I found a really good activity would be 3-5. One of the resources above is for grades 6-8 but I believe we can make it appropriate for fourth or fifth graders by having them read the book and then create questions that they would ask janitors or people in service about their daily work lives. We could then make home connections by asking if anyone has any relatives that are in the service industry that would be willing to come to class and meet with the students to answer their questions. The teacher could also go about bringing in a janitor from the school if the school would permit it which could be a bit easier than having the students go off and find janitors in the school themselves as the activity above suggests. We could then see how they feel about what they have learned and if there was something they would like to change about it, they would be able to write letters to the appropriate offices to try and create change for that specific group of workers.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Illustrator: Peter Ambush
Grade Level: K-8
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About the Author
Fun Activities for Kids
One Million Men and Me is a picture book that vividly recounts the historic Million Man March. The movement took place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995. The author retells the events of this day from the perspective of a young girl who accompanies her father. The epic story, that the young girl shares, is filled with heroic and inspiring black men. The book portrays colorful and lifelike illustrations of black men from all walks of life (different ages, religious beliefs, cultural and economic backgrounds) who marched, stood shoulder to shoulder, and joined hands for peace and unity. The author’s purpose is twofold. First, the book celebrates the special relationship between an African American father and his daughter. Secondly, book commemorates an important and historic day for Black America.
Element 4: Social Movements and Social Change
One Million Men and Me, as well as this element, teaches students about a movement of iconic and everyday people who unite to address issues of social injustice. The Million Man March brought together Black men who were committed to empower themselves and each other to make positive and lasting changes within their families and communities. The activists were inspired by speakers such as Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Mrs. Rosa Parks, and Dr. Maya Angelou who gave powerful voices to this movement. People around the nation and world supported this widely televised movement. According to Lyons, after the movement, black men registered to vote in record numbers, there was a spike in applications to adopt black children, some men started new businesses and organizations, and others volunteered. The black men worked to make their communities safer and economically sound, to be better fathers, husbands, role models, community leaders, and activists.
- According to Lyons, there are many young people that have never heard of the Million Man March. The author hopes that this picture book will help to change that. Teachers can use this book as an example of another historic movement since the Civil Rights Movement.
- On Million Men and Me can also be used to address current issues of injustice and racism towards of black men and boys like in the case of Trayvon Martin. This book highlights the power everyday people have to mobilize and collectively impact and change the image and quality of life for black men and boys in America.
- After reading this book, have your students create and share artistic responses to the Million Man March. Example: (Teacher explains) You have seen pictures of people holding a protest for the Civil Rights Movement. Now, I want you to create a sign with your own words in favor of the Million Man March. Have your students create a sign with bight and bold letters and/or catchy slogan.
- Students will use their signs to participate in a mock student-led public march in the classroom or during lunch to demand equity and justice for black men and boys.
- As a larger activity, have your students plan a new march (either as a class or in small groups) that would appeal to correct an existing injustice in society. Questions to guide the planning may include:
- What is the specific nature of the injustice? (Cultural racism, institutional sexism or racism, governmental policies aimed at minors, environmental destruction, etc.)
- To whom would you be appealing for change? (Congress, the White House, the general population, etc.)
- What are your specific demands, and how should they be addressed? (Reform of existing laws, monetary compensation, acknowledgment of the problem, etc.)
- Who would speak at your march and why? (Certain entertainers, politicians, activists, etc.)
- How would you communicate the message of your march? (Internet, social media & networks, news, mailings, grassroots campaigns, radio, etc.)
- What groups do you think might counter-protest your march?
- What other obstacles do you foresee in both the process of planning as well as the march itself?
- Source: Social Studies Lesson Plans from PBS TeacherSource
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Illustrator: Todd Parr
Grade Level: Pre-K to 2nd
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The Earth Book is a book that provides children with ideas for taking care of the earth. It motivates children to do little things that could ultimately make a big impact on the well-being of our planet (i.e. using both sides of paper, bringing own bags to the supermarket, riding bicycles, turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, etc.) Accompanied by children-friendly illustrations, easy to read texts, and a touch of childish humor, this book challenges children and shows them that they have power and say in protecting the earth. Come April, it will be a sweet and perfect read for Earth Day!
Element 6: Taking Social Action
The Earth Book represents Element 6: Taking Social Action because not only does it offer children ideas for taking care of the earth, but also it provides the big impacts and consequences of their small actions. Rather than providing children with a list of almost impossible "To Dos", this book inspires children to modify the way that they perform their daily routines. Adults, as well as children, can be challenged to turn off their lights, recycle, and save their leftovers by this book.
Activity: On Earth Day, teachers can read this book aloud with their students and discuss the importance of taking care of our planet. After the discussion, the students can come up with their own lists of practical "To Dos" in the classroom . Teachers can guide their students in creating a poster or book that illustrates and compiles the classroom "To Dos."
*Younger students who have yet to develop the fine motor skills to write/draw may work together as a team to grow a classroom garden or plant seeds outside of their school. As the students water the plants, take care of their garden, and watch their seeds grow, they can understand that their small actions lead to growth and change in their school environment.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Grade Level: Pre-K - First
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Sunday, April 22, 2012
Title: How Can I Deal With...Racism?
Author: Sally Hewitt
SJE: Element 6: Taking Social Action
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This book highlights six different children's stories about racism in their lives. Each child's story deals with racism in a different way such as coming from a new country and beginning school, being left out because of their religion, being told to go back where they came from, being teased because of their name and being bullied because they don't share the same culture as others. Each chapter highlights a student's story about how they were a victim of racism and also incorporates the story of one of their friends, explaining their point of view on how their friend was treated or describing a certain instance in which their friend was being bullied. It also gives suggestions and steps as to what each child can do to stop the racism toward them such as telling their parents, teacher or principal or explain to their classmates why they do something a certain way or wear certain clothes. The book also includes a chapter explaining what racism is as well as a glossary defining key words such as culture, gang, Muslim, race, racism and religion.
This book represents Element 6: Taking Social Action because it not only explains the different types of racism children face but also gives them ways and suggestions to stop the racism or approach those who are doing the bullying. Each story highlights how the children feel when they are being bullied so others can learn from their stories. With the help of the suggestions in this book, the children will have a foundation as to how to stop the racism they face and start to make a change within their classroom and community.
Use of this book:
One of the chapters within this book is about a girl named Dipti whose family comes from India but she was born in America. One of the bullies in her class told her to go back where she came from. They said this racist comment to Dipti and did not bother to find out her background or culture. Dipti told the teacher what happened and took this opportunity to assign a Family Tree assignment. I think that was a great idea because it will inform the class of their classmates cultures and where everyone came from. I would do the same in my class because it is a great learning experience. They will be able to find out where their parents and grandparents came from, and see that Dipti is not the only one whose family comes from a different part of the world.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Author: Barbara A. Lewis
Interest Level: Ages 10+
Reading Level: 5th grade +
Summary: Barbara Lewis lays out a multitude of service ideas in her updated 2nd addition of The Kid's Guide to Service Projects. From topics like crime fighting and politics to homelessness and special needs, Lewis delivers a jam-packed resource complete with contact information and first-to-last steps in almost any social justice project. Each chapter highlights various angles of attack on issues many children have conviction about. The "More Ideas" section at the end of each chapter, hones in on some less obvious yet very relevant aspects of the more typical social justice themes. Every chapter provides phone numbers, addresses and web sites for the many organizations associated with these topics. In closing, Lewis provides a "Service Project How-To" chapter, detailing how to create a flyer, petition, press release, proclamation, proposal, PSA, resolution and survey! There are also step-by-step instructions on how to: initiate an ordinance or law, support or oppose a law, lobby, or start a statewide fund or fundraiser.
Element 6: Any teacher with conviction about taking social action should keep this book in his/her arsenal of resources. Not only will it help the students to identify issues they feel passionate about but it will also make them more self-sufficient in their research and follow-up. The simple structure of this book will easily enable them to learn the skills of creating change first-hand. It is the perfect scaffolding to get a class service project off the ground.
Activity: There is no limit to what your class can accomplish with the help of this book! Try to identify issues that are meaningful to your specific students. After reflecting on on how our everyday choices effect others in society, offer this book to your students as a foundation for inspiration. In no time, they will be inspired to take on issues with passionate civic engagement! Click here for great ideas on a variety of specific lesson plans!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Illustration: Linda Holt Ayriss
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The book provides children with an A to Z guide on the concepts of environmentalism with regards to the preservation of our planet. Each page is beautifully illustrated and introduces a letter of the alphabet with a phrase corresponding to a certain concept that serves to both raise awareness and inspire children to create change when it comes to protecting our planet from harmful things like global warming. Each letter of the alphabet introduces a topic and the author provides children with suggestions on how to combat that particular problem that is facing our planet and environment as a whole. For example, for the letter "R," the book provides children with knowledge of the concept of "reduce, reuse, recycle."
This book relates to element five because it raises awareness about various issues related to the environmental struggles we are faced with in maintaining a safe and healthy planet to live on. First, it provides students with information about each of the problems our planet is faced with. However, as element Five also suggests, the book also raises awareness on how they can prevent these problems and help to "save the planet."
Students can create a giant picture of the Earth, using recycled paper from their home and from the classroom. The "recycled Earth" will then be displayed on a bulletin board outside the classroom titled "Save the Planet.". Each of the students will be assigned a letter A to Z and choose an issue or word from the book relating to our planet's environmental safety. They will then write about the information they learned on this topic/word and provide their own specific solutions on how to protect our planet from it. The papers will be displayed around the giant recycled Earth on the bulletin board to raise awareness to fellow students passing by.
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Summary: Russell's World by Charles A. Amenta is a book about a young boy, Russell, who has autism. The book highlight's Russell's day to day interactions with his family. This book not only serves as a biographical story, but also serves to inform young readers about the characteristics of the disorder itself. The author uses the context of Russell's life to raise awareness of autism. The reader learns about many of the behaviors that children with autism display and gains a better understanding of how to approach and interact with children who have autism through this text. The additional appendix of this book is a guide for parents who may have a child with autism. It presents information about the disorder, how to seek out services for children and families, and how to help the child with autism.
Element 5- Raising Awareness: This book falls under the 5th element of social justice education, which is raising awareness. Autism is a puzzling disorder to many. It is not well understood by many adults, yet alone children. Nonetheless, the prevalence of this disorder has increased dramatically just in the past few years alone. This book effectively distributes information about autism in a way that adults and even the youngest of children can understand. By exploring the life of Russell through this biographical picture book, students as well as adults begin to understand the spectrum disorder and the many of the incongruous behaviors that is can display. After reading this book, students will not only be attentive and understanding to those who have special needs, but will be able to raise awareness to others. Russell's World can be used to create a culture of respect for individuals with special needs both in and out of the classroom.
How to Use: Although it can be used at any time during the school year, this book would be a great piece of literature to introduce during April, which is Autism Awareness month. Before students even read the book, the teacher can engage them in a journal writing activity in which students must answer the questions "People's brains work in different ways. In what special way does your brain work?" By answering this question, students become introspective about the way they think and the behaviors that they may engage in, and how such things set them apart from others. After reading the book, students will have a brief discussion on what they learned about autism. Then, students will be able to discuss what they should and shouldn't do when they interact with individuals with autism. Additionally, the teacher will engage students in an activity in which they make materials such as posters that help to raise awareness about autism. These posters can be informational or can be phrases to slogans to debunk myths and/or advocate for those with the disorder. Lastly, students can engage in a service project in which they plan and execute activities for children with autism (such as bringing in a sand/water station, or bringing in beads or other art projects). Students can bring these projects to autistic classrooms and engage in the projects with the students.
Illustrator: Kathleen Gartner
Grade: kindergarten - 3rd grade
Kyle enjoys when his uncle Willy comes to visit. His uncle Willy likes to laugh, joke, play and he also takes Kyle and sister out for their favorite ice cream. Even though Kyle loves to play and hang out with uncle Willie, there is one thing that he does not like, uncle Willy's tickles. In the beginning it was fun, but now Kyle is uncomfortable. He is so uncomfortable he tries to disguise himself or pretend he is sick so he does not have to interact with his uncle Willy. Kyle finally gets the courage to speak to his mom about the way uncle Willy touches him and explains how he does not like it. Kyles mom encourages Kyle to tell uncle Willy how he feels and to his surprise uncle Willy promises not to tickle Kyle anymore because now he knows he does not like it.
This book can be used to raise awareness about topics such as inappropriate touching, privacy, and children's rights. Element 5 is about raising awareness and this book does a great job at covering these topics at an elementary level. Kyle, like many other kids was feeling very uncomfortable the way his uncle would tickle him. Even when he mentioned it to his sister, she said that he tickles all of the kids. Some children may feel like this behavior is okay because it promotes laughter and everyone is having fun, but this book lets children know that no matter what they have a say over their body and if someone is touching them inappropriately even during fun and laughter they have a right to say "STOP" or "NO". Uncle Willy's Tickles is not only for kids but it raises awareness for adults/parents as well. Something as simple as tickling can cause emotional stress, anger, sadness, feelings of discomfort and violation in children. Kyle dealt with these things but he gathered the courage to speak to his mom and her warmth, understanding and guidance allowed him to speak up for himself letting his unlce know that he did not like the way he was being touched. This book is awesome for parents and teachers to introduce things like bad touches, when somone says "no", speaking up and knowing your rights.
Sometimes kids need to feel empowered and they need to know that they have a voice especially when it comes to their own body. The teacher can give the students a fill-in the blank prompt. Ex. I do not like when you __(tickle me)__ and I want _(you to stop)_or I will_(tell my mom)__. In small groups (2nd & 3rd grade) or whole group (k &1) students can discuss things that make them uncomfortable and if they were Kyle what would be some other ways that they would tell uncle Willy they were uncomfortable with his tickling.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Author: Elinor Batezat Sisulu
About the Illustrator
Grade Level: 3-5
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RECYCLE! is an informative book that brings awareness to the problems of landfills in the United States and how we can help by recycling! RECYCLE! explains the process of recycling from start to finish. Not only does it explain the process, but it goes into great details about five major materials one can recycle and how they can be reused. The five types of garage that can be recycled are; paper, glass, aluminum cans, plastic, and polystyrene. RECYCLE! also provides wonderful and detailed pictures to allow readers to clearly visualize the process of recycling.
RECYCLE! is an educational book that raises awareness on landfills, recycling, and how each person in the world can help to make the Earth a more healthy environments to live in. This book promotes readers to make a difference. For example the book states several statistics such as, "Each hour, people in the U.S. use two and a half million plastic bottles" and then encourages the reader to make environmentally friendly decisions by recycling. RECYCLE! is the perfect book to read on Earth Day or when having a lesson plan on the environment.
After reading this book with your students, it is imperative to discuss how important it is to recycle everyday and how we can all reuse certain materials. To show the students how we can reuse materials such as paper and plastic, the teacher should provide students with miscellaneous objects that are made from paper and plastic. The students will be asked to make anything they can think of using the provided materials. For example, make a plastic bottle into a funnel or creating a pen holder out of pop sticks. This fun and interactive activity will allow children to recycle and reuse their materials in the classroom!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Author: Alison Inches
Illustrator: Vivian Garofoli
Grade Level: Pre-School - Second Grade
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To view all books written by this author, CLICK HERE.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the author, Alison Inches.
For more information on Little Green Books, CLICK HERE.
To learn what it means to be green through Keep America Beautiful's educational programs and to see how you can get involved, CLICK HERE.
I Can Save the Earth! is a great book that shows raising awareness (Element 5). This book takes the issues of pollution, recycling and community responsibility and brings it into the children’s everyday lives. Children can follow Max the Little Green Monster's journey to environmental awareness, from polluter to recycler. Children can also learn tips on how they can become little green monsters themselves. This book is a great precursor for children to take action and make a change.
If the students would like to raise awareness around recycling, reducing, reusing and littering, a good activity is to create a recycle patrol. The teacher will ask the students, “Do you think keeping Earth “clean and green” is important?” Then invite them all to sit on the floor and conduct a read-aloud using I Can Save the Earth! After the book is finished, the teacher could ask the students, “Have you ever wondered how much your class throws away in a month or a year? Do you think that anything you and your classmates throw away can be recycled?” Tell the students that you will assign groups (based on different types of learners) to the “recycle patrol." They will first conduct an experiment that will help them see what happens to the class trash and then find ways to recycle some of it. They can set up a recycling center and keep track of how many items the class recycles in one day and one week (how many water bottles, pieces of paper, etc.). They can also calculate estimations for one month and one year.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Project Coordinator: Joyce Nickels and Erinn Rakes
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Author: Jeri Ferris
Illustrator: Illustrations reproduced through the courtesy of Nebraska State Historical Society, Chicago and North Western Railway; Smithsonian Institution National Anthropological Archives; Independent Picture Source; Glenbow Photographs, Hampton University Archival and Museum Collection, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; The Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Library of Congress.
Grade Level: 3-5
“Native American Doctor: The Story of Susan LaFlesche Picotte” is a biography of a young Omaha Indian woman, Susan LaFlesche Picotte, who became the first Native American woman to graduate from medical school. Her life was complicated by the conflicts of her upbringing in a Native American family, and the need to be a part of the society that provided her education and training. Fortunately, she was born into a supportive family with her father being the Chief of Omahas and her mother being The One Woman of Omahas. Although, her father did not want any of his children to be marked in a white world he also believed the Omahas would have to learn ‘white ways’ if they were going to live in the new white world. Picotte became the first Native American female doctor and missionary. Susan’s overall goal was to open her medical practice to all, Indian and non-Indian alike, and treated their ailments for a generation. The overall message expressed is based on advocacy for unity and the suppression of inequities among the rights of woman and the biases held about the conflict between Native Americans and Anglo Americans.
Element 4- Social Movements and Social Change:
This book is a great representation of Element 4 because it introduces children to teaching others about, Susan LaFlesche Picotte, person of a the Native American minority population who made a difference and promoted social change and progress not only for Native American but women as whole. Picotte promoted the opportunity of health for all members of her community during at time where Native Americans were migrating and in conflict with Americans. She not only surpassed the expected role of women and became a doctor but she used her knowledge to help all and promote unity.
The book is suggested to be used to enhance the study of the Plains Indians or post-Civil war history. Some of the activities that can be incorporated along with the book in the classroom consist of having students dress up as their favorite subjects, and tell stories from “their” lives. Videotape the biographical presentations and having the whole class put on a play using scenes from their favorite biographies. In accordance with the book, the students can do a research project on the past of doctors, answering questions like what was it like to go to the doctor 250 years ago? 150 years ago? 80 years ago? Did children go in for checkups? Did the Indians have doctors (before Susan LaFlesche)? In doing so students can have a further understanding of the impact Susan LaFlesche Picotte made. Along with this, the students could also write letters and journals in the voice of the characters, telling the problems or joys of a typical day, week, and month.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Element 3 - Exploring Issues of Social Justice: