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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Heroes of the Environment

Title: Heroes of the Environment-True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet.
Author: Harriet Rohmer
Illustrator: Julie McLaughlin
Grade Level: Grade 4-6
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Summary:This book is an excellent role model for children of all ages. The book contains 12 different stories of people all over North America making a change and difference in the world to help the environment. Things these heroes did to improve the environment include raising food in the city, discovering a new way to clean polluted water, turning waste into good business and good jobs, bringing solar power to Indian country, speaking out to a big oil company, inventing Eco-machines, recycling electronic waste, saving West Virginia's oldest mountains, fighting the enemies of the environment, protecting the Louisiana wetlands, saving the porcupine river caribou, and safeguarding the California coast. These people had such strong feelings towards the things they wanted to improve, and really put their minds to it until they accomplished their goals.This is such a great book that will motivate students to focus on what they really want to change, and go out there and do it!
Element 4-Taking Social Action: I believe this book is a perfect SJE # 4 because the heroes in the book are just normal people who had strong feelings for something and went out into the world and made a change because they felt they wanted a change. This is an excellent book relating to this element because my students will be motivated and inspired by kids of all ages who had goals they felt strong about and achieved them to better our world today. True stories of the real world have the most impact in my eyes, and this makes it possible for students to know that they can do whatever they want if they put their minds to it.
Follow Up Activity: Students will be set up in groups of 5, and think of something they would like to change or better in our school relating to the environment. This will be done around Earth Day.We will then come together as a class and list everything students have come up with. Students will then take a poll on the ideas they liked the most. The idea with the most votes will be our goal to achieve by the end of the year. Together as a class we will work as a group to achieve our goal, whether it be clean our school ground, start a recycling program, etc. Students will keep a weekly journal of the things we are doing to achieve our goal. This will motivate and inspire students to work to achieve something they feel strongly about. At the end of the year students will hand in their journals and reactions to how they felt about their accomplishment!
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