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.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What Should I Do?: Making Good Decisions

What Should I Do?: Making Good Decisions by John Berstein (also known as Slim Goodbody)

+ Grade Level: 3 and up
+ 32 pages

+ Purchase Here
+ More info On Author/TV Personality/Health Crusader Slim Goodbody

Summary: What Should I Do?: Making Good Decisions is a guide to brainstorming and deciding on the best possible path to follow in any given situation. The steps this book discusses are: Stop and Breathe; Collect the Facts; Now or Later?; Know Your Goal; Explore Your Options; Consider the Consequences; Take Action; and Review the Results. These steps together form a cohesive advisement about tackling an issue with a thought-out plan, including ways to decide on the most realistic methods of achieving what you want, and weighing the pros and cons of a potential idea.

Other very interesting side-topics include an introduction passage called "Brain Divide," which discusses some basic psychology in how logic and feelings don't always line up perfectly in the cerebrum; and an ending passage titled "Follow Your Own Path," which discusses how everyone is different and how the most important thing is to be true to your own values.

Element 6 (Social Action): What Should I Do?: Making Good Decisions is a very practical guide to taking action, from plan to execution to reviewing the results. It is laid out in such a way that an elementary school student can understand and follow along with it all easily enough; and at the same time, its ideas are ones that even an adult would find great benefit from following.

How to Use It: What's great about What Should I Do?: Making Good Decisions is its versatility. It can be applied to any scenario in which a decision is to be made. And it can also be used for a wide age range. However, I would say it would be best used for students in fourth - sixth grade.

One specific example of this book can be used: During a unit on the Industrial Revolution, and child labor in the past and present, students can read each chapter of this book one at a time, stopping at the end of each chapter to apply it to the child labor issue. In the end, students would be able to come up with their own ideas on if and how to stop child labor in today's world, carefully deciding along the way which methods (if any) might be most effective. If the students want to do something but are not sure what to do, the teacher could present some options the students can weigh and decide on for themselves, such as a letter-writing campaign to policy-makers, linking with local organizations, or a boycott of companies which still use child labor.

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