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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Big Al and Shrimpy

Big Al and Shrimpy By Andrew Clements

Shirmpy is the smallest fish in the ocean but also the smartest fish there is. All shrimpy wants is to have friends but the none of the fish accept for Big Al want to be his friend because he is small. Shrimpy, Big Al and the other fish were playing a game tag. Big Al was “it” first, he maybe fast but he could not zig zag which was his disadvantage and and he tagged Shrimpy who was slow because he was small. Then Shrimpy became “it”. But he was to slow to tag all the other fish so he hid in a corner and he and Big Al were just tagging each other. All the other fish said that was not fair. Shrimpy left the game with his new friend Big Al. They travel all around the sea Big Al puffed himself up and showed Shrimpy how he could push rocks down into the “big deep” all of sudden Big Al was pushing a rock and his fin got caught in the crack and down he went into the “big deep”. Shrimpy got scared and swam to get all the fish to help Big Al. All the fish came and Shrimpy gave them orders to follow in order to help Big Al. They all worked together as a team and saved Big Al. Shrimpy told them to turn around and they all headed home to have a party that night for the guest of honor Shrimpy, “the little fish with the big ideas”.
My Review-
I really enjoyed reading this picture book. It has great illustrations and the wording is very simply and easy to comprehend. I also enjoyed the message Clements sends to the reader, it does not how big or small one is, they can still be smart, after all Shrimpy was the smartest fish. This book is a great book to have in classroom because it can bring up the idea how children feel when they are left out of something, how they can help problem solve and use their smarts like Shrimpy. It could also be used to discuss motivation for change.
In the class room-
-In the classroom I would use this book to bring up the topic of how all the fish come together to help Big Al despites their difference in size, and how all my students can come together and work as team to help each despite their difference. I would create a puzzle and give each student a piece of the puzzle and write one thing that they think is different about them and then have the students put the puzzle together to see how people with differences can all work together. This can also bring up the topic of the importance of being an individual or role model and speaking for what they believe. Students would understand that no matter what one looks like they are all capable of making a change because its what is on the inside that really matters.
-This book can all be used in teaching students out ocean life. Students could look up the different fish that live in the ocean and the importance they have to ocean life. The students can also join an organization that helps with keeping the ocean and beaches clean.
Social Justice Education
1)Self love and Acceptance
2) Respect for others
3)Social Movement and Change
4) Taking Social Action

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