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, November 6, 2010

Don't Laugh At Me

Element 5: Raising Awareness
Title: Don't Laugh At Me
Author: Steve Seski & Allen Shamblin
Illustrations: Glin Dibley
Ages: 4 to 8

Lesson Plan-
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Summary: This book is acknowledged by Reading Rainbow. It focuses on how children are made fun of because of their physical and learning disabilities. It brings out the fact that the laughing and name calling hurts. It ends with a moving song stating, "We are all the Same in God's eye." The link above includes the lyrics to the song.

SJE: The book Don't Laugh At Me addresses the element "Raising Awareness" by recognizing children who are bullying and being bullied. The author uses exaggerated illustrations of children's differences and repetition of the words "Don't laugh at me". The children in the class can actually see the hurt and disappointment on the character's faces. The book can lead to discussion by acknowledging the character's differences. Pivotal questions can be used such as, How do you think the characters are feeling? How would you feel if you were made fun of for what you look like or what you couldn't do? Did you ever feel like the characters in the story? Did you ever hurt someone's feelings? The children should empathize with the characters in the book and think about these real life situations.

Activity: Have the children write a short story about a person bullying or being bullied. Discuss ways to handle the situation without fighting. Have the children role play to act out the scenario and discuss how the characters are feeling and let them brainstorm different ways that this can be avoided.

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