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, September 24, 2014

Element 2: Respect For Others

Title: Everyone Matter: A First Look at Respect for Others
Author:  Pat Thomas
Illustrator:  Lesley Harker
Grade Level:  Preschool - Second Grade

The book, Everyone Matters teaches children about respect. The book explains to children that respect is a little word but has a big meaning. This book defines respect as valuing people as much as we value ourselves. It teaches children to treat everyone equally even if they may look differently. The book encourages children to focus on similarities you may have with people opposed to the differences. Everyone Matters also discusses that there are some types of respect that each person must earn for himself or herself. Telling the truth, keeping promises, and being polite can earn this respect. People may be different in many ways but being respectful of others is always the right thing to do.  Everyone Matters shares with children that you may disagree with someone but you must always stop and think about their point of view and why they are thinking that way. Everyone has an equal right to his or her opinion. The book has great point, and teaches great lessons. Everyone Matters states that for both children and adults must practice and work on respect daily. Having respect for others will make the world a better place. 

Element 2:
Element two, respect for other is an element that strengthens intercultural competence. The book Everyone Matters demonstrates and teachers about respect for others, which supports element two. This book uses the definition of respect and breaks it down for children to understand. The author relates the meaning to things that children understand and deal with on a daily basis. The illustrations show all different types of children and demonstrates them all playing together. The book teaches children that every one is equal, and respect is not just being nice. “Most of the differences between human beings are one we can see with our eyes. What makes us alike are the things we feel in our hearts.” This quote really supports element number two.

It is very important that children are taught about respect and equality at an early age. The earlier they learn this the more it will become a reality throughout their lives. As a teacher you have the opportunity to help mold these children and make an impact in the world. This book would be my first choice when teaching a lesson on respect. I would have the class come together and have a read-aloud of Everyone Matters. I would have interactive reading to involve the children. I would ask them questions before, during, and after I read the book aloud. After we read I would have the kids discuss what respect means to them and how they would show others respect. I would assign them to come up with their own individual way to show respect and encourage them to do this act of respect.  I would send home a worksheet with the assignment on it so the parents know what we are discussing in class and can reinforce the lesson at home.

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