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, February 13, 2012

The Colors of the Rainbow

Author: Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Grade Level: 1st Grade

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Lesson Plan Ideas

About the Author

Summary: In The Colors of the Rainbow, author Jennifer Moore-Mallinos uses the analogy of a rainbow, with all of its different colors, to illustrate the idea that all children are unique. The book gives examples of how skin color, hair color, eye color and even the foods they eat, languages they speak and emotions they feel make them all unique.  Yet, the book also emphasizes that while they are all different, like each of the colors of the rainbow, they share many similarities. For example, they all have feelings, wear clothing, use language for communication and express emotions by laughing or crying. The lesson to be learned from the book is that, together, children of different race and cultural backgrounds represent a rainbow of different colors and those differences should be celebrated and respected all at once.

Element: This book corresponds with element two, because it teaches children to have respect for those that are different from them. The book gives many examples of different skin colors children may have, different foods they may eat based on their cultural background, different holidays they may celebrate and many other differences they may have.  The author uses the analogy of a rainbow to send the message that people from all different cultures around the world are unique, just like the colors of the rainbow, which is referred to as a beautiful and lovely sight. This serves to instill in children that their differences should be respected and admired, just as a rainbow would be admired. The ending gives children a message of encouragement to celebrate their differences and appreciate what makes them all unique. This is exactly what element two sets out to accomplish.

Activity: The students will gather on the carpet area while the teachers reads aloud The Colors of the Rainbow. After the story, students will be divided into groups, and each team will be assigned a different color of the rainbow. Each student in the group will be given a piece of constructions paper that is the same color as their assigned color. The students will work individually to write a sentence on their construction paper that describes how they are unique, whether it is the food they eat, color of their skin, and so forth. They will then write "I will respect people who are different from me." The students will then work as a team in their groups to form a layer of the rainbow in the same color of their construction paper writings.  For example, one group will form the red layer, one will form orange, etc. The teacher will hang up all of the layers on a bulletin board to form a giant rainbow. Above the rainbow, it will read "We respect all of the colors of OUR rainbow."

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