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

Sumi's First Day of School Ever

Sumi's First Day of School Ever by Soyung Pak

Summary: On her first day of American school, Sumi enters the classroom. Feeling anxious and curious about what American schools might look like, she looked around the classroom for a few minutes. As she sits on her chair, she hears a group of boys whispering at each other about the way she looks. Therefore, she feels that school is a cold place. The teacher noticed that and initiated conversations with her. Sumi now thinks that her teacher is a nice person. During recess, she meets a new friend named Mary. They become best friends and Sumi thinks that school is not a cold place anymore. Her negative feelings about school changes to a positive first day experience.

Reflection:There is a Japanese boy in my class who came to America last year. He goes to ESOL every morning and tries really hard to learn English. When I initiate conversations with him, he doesn’t respond to me right away. I find that interesting, because he responds well to my CT. When I found this book, it reminded me of that boy, because even though he is adjusting well to the new environment, he probably would’ve had difficulties in the beginning. Therefore, I want to bring this book and share with him during reading.

Classroom Uses:I would use this book during the theme of friendship. I would do a read aloud on this book and discuss the main character. Then I would ask students to reflect on the character’s feeling and write a journal entry about how students might feel if they were in Sumi’s position on the first day of school.

Domains of Social Justice:Respect for Others-When Mary starts to talk with Sumi, she asks what her name is and where she’s from. (this indicates that she wants to build friendship and shows respect for her peers) Social movements and social change- Sumi and Mary become best friends, even though other kids make fun of Sumi.

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