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, April 20, 2011

Where Does the Garbage Go?

Author: Paul Showers
Illustrator: Randy Chewning
Grade level: 1st-4th

Where Does the Garbage Go is written in a student's perspective and shows the different ways garbage is collected and where it comes from. It explains how garbage used to be collected and the ways in which it is collected today.  The book gives all the steps of how garbage is broken down and how it disappears once you throw it away.  It even gives an illustration of what is in our landfills.  The author gives fun facts and tips so children can be a part of helping out with this problem. It focuses a lot on recycling and makes the students realize that recycling is not enough and that we must do more.    

Element 5: Raising Awareness
Where Does the Garbage Go really emphasizes how important it is for everyone to do their part and recycle.  It shows children that if we start out at a young age, it will become a routine all through life.  Since it comes from a student's point of view, it makes children realize that if we do not get rid of waste in the right ways it will hurt the earth later on.  By giving all the different ways garbage is collected and disposed of, it creates a more interesting topic to learn about and makes the children want to do something about it.

To raise awareness on the issue of garbage and waste teachers can begin by recycling within their own classrooms.  To further understand how important it is to get rid of wastes and recycle, teachers can take students outside to the playground or to a local park and see what kind of trash is lying around.  The students can decide if it should go in the trash or be recycled and this is not only teaching them to tell the difference but they are doing their part and helping out the environment.

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