For ages 8 and up, though the social action suggested within the book could be adapted for younger children.
Buy it here!
The Kid's Guide to Social Action is an amazing book-- perfect for Element 6, and for a kid or teacher who wants to make a difference. The book, which contains inspirational quotes within the chapters, not only has step-by-step instructions for kids to do everything from making a PSA to lobbying for change.
The book is split into five parts:
Part One: Life Beyond the Classroom
- Examples of kids who have made big changes through social action
- Brainstorming tricks
- Tips for writing evaluations about what has been learned
- More examples of kids who have made big changes
- Telephone tips and skills
- Letter writing etiquette and advice (which differs if you are writing to, say, an editor, as opposed to a public official)
- How to successfully use the internet for research
- Interviewing tips and tricks
- How to make a successful survey
- Proposal, proclamations, and petition writing tips
- How to gain representation on councils and boards
- Media coverage and advertising (including "Attention getting tips" and how to write a press release)
- How to make a successful PSA
- The importance of voter registration
- Organizing a group
- Even more examples of kids in action, changing the world
- Learning about local and state governments
- How to change local and state law
- Amending state constitution
- Lobbying (how to, tips, many ways to lobby)
- Resolutions (how to write one, as well as tips)
- Learning about national law
- Learning about the court systems
- State legislature contacts
- Government offices
- Contact groups for information, networking, and programs
- Awards and recognition for kids
- More tips for brainstorming- coming up with ideas and choosing your main idea
- Various blank templates to use (including phone, letter, and fax forms)
- Filled in templates to demonstrate how to write everything from a survey to a proclamation
- A grant application checklist
- Voter registration (door-to-door campaign)
- Student court chart
Relation to Element 6:
When I was assigned Element 6, I set out on a search for books for kids that did not have to do with recycling, since Dr. Picower had asked that such texts be avoided, since there are so many out there. I found the search for a book fitting Element 6 difficult, until I found The Kid's Guide to Social Action. What I love the most about this book is that it does not suggest just one problem in the world, and then give the reader a step-by-step list of how to "fix" what is broken. Instead, it gives the reader a chance to consider problems that matter to them, and gives the reader the toolkit needed to take action and begin to make a change. I think that this open-ended approach to social action gives kids the ability to stand up for something that they believe in, rather than having a book dictate what they should be trying to change.
There are so many suggested within the book! Have your students brainstorm issues relating to a lesson. Maybe you are learning about pollution, and the kids notice the lack of garbage cans on the street. Use the book to help the kids contact officials, run a letter writing campaign, advertise, write a press release, and get some garbage cans put onto the street! There are so many options and ideas in this book that I think it is a useful reference tool to keep in your desk at all times, especially as a teacher!