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.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Unique Monique By Maria Rousaki
Can be purchased on Amazon. com or Barnes and Noble
Monique is a girl who goes to a uniform school where all the boys and girls wear the same clothing. They wore blue sweaters and brown skirts or pants. Monique thinks these are the ugliest colors let alone the ugliest clothes a person could wear. Every day she says to her mom “I don’t want to wear my uniform”. All Monique wanted was to be different. Monique found an old trunk in her attack with a red hat, and other accessories to spice up her uniform. Monique decided she would wear the different things she found to school each day and each time she wore something “unique” the teacher would have her remove it. The students enjoyed seeing Monique being unique and after each day of wearing a new trend they would come to school in it the next day and get yelled at by the principal for it. One day Monique came to school looking like all the other students; to say the least, her teacher was thrilled and called her to the front of the room to be a role model. Just then Monique smiled; she had a full mouth of bright red braces. “At last she was unique”.
I really enjoyed reading the book Unique Monique. Like Monique, I went to a school where everyone had to wear a uniform. All I wanted to do, like Monique, was to find a way to be unique and break away from the dress code. Like Monique it was hard to break away from the dress code because the teachers were always looking to get the out-of-dress-code person in trouble. This is a great book to have in any classroom as it is an easy, funny book to read and has wonderful illustrations. It is also great to have in a classroom because it addresses the idea of being unique, being an individual, and a leader. This book can be used to build classroom as well as used to do a word study on the word unique.
In the classroom-
One way I would use Unique Monique in the classroom is by doing a word study on the word unique and what it means to be unique. I would then have students come up with a list of several things that makes them unique, what makes their family unique, and what makes their classroom unique. Once students have an idea of all the aspects that make them unique as in school, outside of school and as individuals I would then go on to talk to the students about what it means to have a community and how all of their unique qualities help make their classroom special.
If I was teaching in a school where the students wore uniforms like Monique and all looked alike I would work with my students on creating a petition to the principal of the school asking to allow the students to have a day once a month of to wear whatever they wanted. This would allow the students the opportunity to show their individual uniqueness through how they dress.
As a teacher it is important to make my students feel special and embrace whatever unique qualities they have. As a teacher I want to make sure all of my students are proud of who they are and express themselves and not conform to what someone else wants them to be. Each student should stand proud and accounted for.
Social justice Education
Self Love and acceptance
Respect for others
*3. Taking social action (if in a school where the students wear uniforms)