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

Why Should I Recycle?

Title: Why Should I Recycle?
Author: Jen Green
Illustrator: Mike Gordon
Grade Level: K-3
Ages: 4-8
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.

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Click here to learn more about Jen Green and other books in the series!
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This book is about a little girl who tells the story of how her family who did not originally recycle began to do so. She explains how at first her family threw everything away in one trash can. One day she notices that her teacher, Mr. Jones, is putting the garbage in front of his house in separate containers such as paper, plastic, and bottles. The little girl is so curious about what recycling is and why her teacher is even doing it in the first place. The next day, Mr. Jones talks to the class about what they do with their garbage and how it can be reused. He decides to bring his students on a field trip to a recycling center to show them how garbage is separated and recycled to make new things. Mr. Jones explains to the class what can be created from each category of items such as using recycled paper to create new books. After this experience, the little girl begins to recycle many things around her home. In the end, she realizes how important recycling is to the environment and how fun it can be!

Element #5- Awareness Raising:
Throughout this book, this element is evident when Mr. Jones “raises awareness” to his students about the importance of recycling. The teacher raises awareness by explaining to his class what it means to recycle their garbage. Then, Mr. Jones emphasizes why they should recycle by bringing them to a recycling center. He raises the students’ awareness about what they throw away by explaining to them what each group of items can be reused for. He even uses examples that they can relate to such as cans contributing to the creation of brand new bicycles and scooters. Therefore, this book raises awareness about recycling in a fun and understandable way!

Classroom Activity:
After reading this book to the class, the students can help raise awareness to others in their school by creating posters that show why recycling is important. The students can be creative by using materials such as magazines, bottles or cans to attach to their poster, markers, and more. Some ideas can be used from the story as they are making their poster to convey their message. Then they can then hang one poster in each classroom so that their peers can read their message of why they too should recycle. A few students could go into another class and verbally raise awareness by telling them about the story they read and what they learned from it. This is a great way that a class can raise awareness about recycling to the rest of their school!

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