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, October 8, 2013

The Big Orange Splot

Author: Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Illustrator: Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Grade Level: Preschool-Third 

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The Big Orange Splot starts off by introducing Mr. Plumbean who lived on a street where all the houses were the same.  Everyone, including Mr. Plumbean, liked living on their neat street.  One day a seagull flew over Mr. Plumbean's home with a can of orange paint and dropped the can leaving a big orange splot on his house.  Once the neighbors became aware of the big orange splot they urged Mr. Plumbean to repaint his house.  One cool night Mr. Plumbean got all different kinds of paint and decided to paint his house with all different colors, pictures, and shapes.  He then build a tower on his roof and painted a clock on the top.  All the neighbors said, "Plumbean has lost his marbles."  Urged by the other neighbors, Mr. Plumbeans next door neighbor went to tell him he needed to redo is house the same as everyone else.  Plumbean responded by saying, "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams." Gradually, Mr. Plumbean's neighbors, one by one, decided to redo their homes as well.  Soon the street was not filled with neat houses anymore but, filled with each individuals dreams. "Our street is us and we are it. Our street is where we like to be, and it looks like all our dreams."

Element 2:
The Big Orange Splot allows readers to acknowledge differences between individual dreams.  Everyone is unique and those qualities should be celebrated.  This story shows students that we may not be all the same but that makes each one of us special.  Differences should be celebrated and shared.  The author makes a point by focusing on how each individual neighbor decide to redo their home.  Each home is different because everyone has different dreams. Being your own person and sharing these differences with others brings out confidence and awareness of yourself. 

An activity that can be done after reading The Big Orange Splot  is having students make their own home.  Students will be provided construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, and access to the internet.  These houses can be designed however they choose.  Each individual home should represent each student individually.  All the pictures, cutouts, and words used need to reflex an aspect of that student.  For older students, adding an additional activity would be appropriate.   By asking each student to write down the symbol or picture they used and explain how it represent them can be a great writing activity.  Once completed students will have the opportunity to share their work, during a gallary walk, with other students. This activity is extremely hands on and gets the students excited about sharing with their peers what makes them individually special and different.  

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