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, September 30, 2013
We're Different, We're the Same
Title: We're Different, We're the Same
Author: Bobbi Jane Kates
Illustrator: Joe Mathieu
Featuring Jim Henson's Sesame Street Muppets
Grade Level: Preschool - 2
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This children's book uses Sesame Street characters and people to show that even though we are different, at the same time we are also alike. It illustrates pictures of different eyes, noses, mouths, hair, skin colors and more. The book teaches how characteristics that look different on someone else still perform the same functions for our bodies and are meant for the same purposes. It shows how everyone is unique, "That's what makes the world such fun. Many kinds of people, not just one!"
Element One : Self Love and Knowledge
This book represents Element one because it is teaching them about their characteristics and also what they do. This is providing them with self knowledge. It includes different cultures physical attributes in the illustrations trying to deconstruct negative stereotypes. It teaches that it is okay to be different. You are wonderful just the way you are and that's what makes the world so special. The students may gain acceptance and self esteem towards themselves after reading these encouraging words from the friendly Sesame Street friends.
One idea for a follow up activity would be to make self portrait plates. We could use paper plates for our heads and yarn for our hair. After everyone finished making their plate portrait we could come together on the rug and discuss how our plates look similar. Then we will talk about differences. Their portrait will show how they are expressing feelings towards oneself. You could also make eye color and hair color charts and graphs for an extended activity in math. To get the students up and out of their seats to move around a little I might do a "Step Right Up Activity." I would have all my students stand in a straight horizontal line side by side. I would have a list of questions made up and read one by one. If the question applies to you, the student would take a step forward. For example, things like, step forward if you have blue eyes, if you have a brother, if you have brown hair, if you like to play basketball. This activity is also showing how we are alike and different in so many ways and that each statement we step up for makes us who we are as our own person.