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.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sit-In: How four friends stood up by sitting down

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Grade Level: First and up
Age Level: 6+

Resources (Educator's Guide and More)

Summary: After hearing Martin Luther King's (MLK) powerful words of protest, four young College men came together on February 1st 1960 to make a plan to form change; the change of desegregation and equality. These four African American men started their plan by sitting at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro North Carolina asking only for a doughnut and coffee with cream on the side. Even after not getting served these four brave men kept calm with the words of MLK in their heads despite getting coffee and ketchup thrown at them. After news spread fast and the story of the four men at the counter hit newspapers and the television screen, others of both Black and White ethnicity soon joined in on this plan for change. Soon this protest hit libraries, parks, buses, and more as well as spreading to numerous states. Activist Ella Baker assisted in this protest by forming the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Shortly after the formation of the SNCC President John F. Kennedy passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, then on July 2nd of that same year President Lyndon B. Johnson made the act a law. After years of fighting for equality, the plan succeeded. These four boys became known as "The Greensboro Four".

Element 5: In this book College students are promoting issues of social justice in which they have been previously introduced to by leaders and multiple Civil Rights Acts leading up to the Greensboro Sit-In. These students were both teaching and involving other students and many people world-wide the importance of equality and change by raising awareness.

Activity: This book explains that many of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s (MLK) powerful  words and quotes was the confidence and faith those four young College men took with them as they stood up for a change. An activity to introduce to children after reading this book, and introducing MLK and the meaning of segregation would be to re-introduce those quotes to the class. I would ask my class to think back to the story to where and how MLK used a small amount of words yet powerful enough to make a statement and a change in society. I would then ask my children to come up with their own quote/ slogan such as MLK did (we can as a class discuss topics to work off of, like bullying for example or any topic that may fit). After the class has come up with their own inspirational words we will then transport them onto t-shirts and wear them around school for a day to promote numerous forms of equality. (Perfect to preform activity around MLK Day/Month !)

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