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

Recycle Everyday!

Title: Recycle Everyday!

Author and Illustrator: Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Grades: K-3


Make your classroom greener, buy the book here

Click here for a great website for recycling activities, information, and teaching resources

Here is a fun online game where children also learn in the process

PSA Youtube video to show students

Element 6: Taking Social Action

Summary: The book, “Recycle Everyday!,” by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, demonstrates the importance of recycling. Minna, who is the main character, is having a poster contest at her school for the Community Recycling Calendar. She must come up with a creative idea in order for her poster to be chosen for the calendar. She seeks help from her entire rabbit family by spending the week practicing different kinds of recycling ideas for her assignment. This included recycling and donating old clothes and books, gathering empty cans, and using tote bags at the supermarket rather than paper bags. She finally comes up with a great idea by reusing recycled paper as the artwork for her poster, and offers a good message, “Re-Re-Remember, re-re-recycle everyday.” Her teacher explains that if everybody does his or her part to recycle, the world would be a cleaner and greener place so it is important to remember the three Rs- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Element 6 Representation (Taking Social Action): Although there are children that know what recycling means, many do not know why we recycle. “Recycle Everyday!,” is a great book to use in order to teach children about taking social action. The story offers excellent ways people can reduce, reuse, and recycle such as donating old clothes. The book concludes with a recycle game, an activity, and a list of the recycled items used in the story. “Recycle Everyday!” represents the importance of being aware of the environment, in order to make the world a “cleaner and greener place.” With the help of the book, students will begin to understand how they can reuse everyday materials by eliminating the amount of waste that is produced. It also empowers the children because it gives them a sense of self-worth. It shows that anybody, no matter what age, can do something about the present environmental issues.

Utilizing the book in the classroom: Before reading the story, I would ask the students what the terms reduce, reuse, and recycle mean, and have them write it in on the blackboard. I would then explain that we will be reading a book called “Recycle Every Day!,” that will help the class understand the importance of recycling. After I read the book out loud, I would have a class discussion about it, asking questions such as: “What ways did Minna’s rabbit family recycle?”, and “Why do you think Minna won the contest?” I would then ask the class to take out their journals to write their reaction to the book and why they feel recycling is important. For homework, I would tell the students that they are going to be making a poster like Minna did in the book. It must include recycled materials as well as a strong message. I would then hang the posters around the classroom to remind the class why everybody should recycle.

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