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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth


Author: Rochelle Strauss
Illustrator: Rosemary Woods
Grade Level: 3rd & Up

Buy it here!

Summary:  One Well: The Story of Water on Earth is a very accessible introduction to many different topics involving the world's water supply.  Rochelle Strauss uses the idea of all of the earth's water coming from one well to stress the knowledge that all people on earth share the same water source.  By putting measurements and figures into relatable objects (i.e. bathtubs, swimming pools, cans of pop) children can grasp just how much water we use every day.  Strauss also tackles the subjects of water pollution, lack of clean water, and water shortages by using the symbolism of one well to explain that we all are responsible for keeping the world's water clean.  The last few pages are dedicated to teaching children how they can become "well aware" and begin to take steps to keep the world's well safe, clean and accessible for all.  It also includes resources for teachers, parents and guardians to engage their students and children actively in water conversation at home and in the classroom.

Element 6:  One Well: The Story of Water on Earth gives students the information they need to become passionate about issues of clean water, accessibility and conservation.  The book is written in a way that allows students to take some responsibility for the water crisis, and empowers them to begin to make changes on their own.   It offers ways for students to get involved at the local or the global level, or become active in their own water conservation at home.  The book makes it clear that small personal changes can help the global well as well. 

Activity: Depending where your school is located, the class or entire school can adopt a waterway nearby.  The class can engage in research about the water way including how it was formed, who used it, and how the city/town developed around it.  With the proper permission, the class can take trips to the waterway to study plant and animal life, as well as keep the area clean of pollution.  They can create a presentation to present to the rest of the school or to the town about their findings and what they may need to keep the area thriving. 

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