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 23, 2014

It’s Your World; If You Don’t Like It, Change It

Element 6: Taking Social Action- students explore their own context and develop tools to work for change

Author: Mikki Halpin

Grade: 6th   

Summary: Mikki Halpin’s, “It’s Your World; If You Don’t Like It, Change It”, is geared toward the teenage population in hopes of promoting activism.  Within the book, a reader will find information in relation to the following topics: Rights for animals, fighting against racism, the environment, freedom of speech, ending war, fighting the HIV/AIDS Spread, stopping bullying, defending women's rights, protecting civil rights, and promoting tolerance for LGBTQ. Throughout the book, Halpin offers a variety of suggestions in order to support the world and community.

Element 6: This powerful book would be used to apply Element 6 especially in a 6th grade classroom because it allows young students to realize the significance of their “voice”. Students will learn ways to make positive actions and the importance of getting involved in their community. These particular skills will be helpful for their future as well as currently as they are able to promote these new ideas with those around them. The challenge of this book is to get students to brainstorm various ways to “get involved” and “create change”, which directly correlates with Element 6. 

Activity: A follow-up activity to do with a classroom after reading this book would be to assign each student with a classmate to choose a particular area of focus within the community that they can get involved with. For example, students may want to get involved with would be to clean local parks. Students will be responsible for creating a list of objectives there would be when cleaning up their local parks. What “difference” would they like to make and how would it impact their community around them? Students would be asked how exactly would they get others involved and what would be some of their advertising strategies? The motivation that students will get will promote them to gather others to join in on this exciting, impactful activity. Students could plan one day to actually try their activity and clean a local park in their home area. As a closing, students would be asked to take pictures and show them to their class as well as write a short synopsis of what they got out of doing this activity.

Vanessa Campo

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