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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Element 5- Raising Awareness: City Green  

Author: DyAnne DiSalvo- Ryan 

Illustrated by: DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan 

Grade Level: Third 

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The main character in this book is a little girl named Marcy. She lives with her Mama in a nice neighborhood. In the town they live in there is an old building that has been abandoned for years. Macy has a friend, Miss Rosa. Miss Rosa told Macy that Old Man Hammer used to live in the abandoned building. Throughout the book every time Macy asked about the building, Old Man Hammer seems to get angry because he misses his old home. Two men dressed in suits came to Macy's town letting the people know that it was time for the building to come down because it was unsafe. All the town people gathered together to watch the building become dirt. The spot where the building was became and empty lot. This made the people of the town very sad because no one tried to save it. When spring came Macy and Miss Rosa collected empty cans, and than walk to the park to fill them with dirt and put seeds in them. They put these plants in the empty lot, they liked the idea of having living things in the space. However, before they could do this they needed approval from the city, so they got signatures from many people and started a potation. They went to City Hall and had a fee of a dollar, but after that they got approval. Macy and Miss Rosa started, and then Macy's mother wanted to help and day by day more neighbors joined. Eventually the entire community was planting seeds in the lot. People were very excited about this and it eventually became a beautiful garden for the community. 

Element 5: 
Element 5 is all about raising awareness. The City Green is an excellent example of a book that could be used in the classroom. When discussing raising awareness in the classroom this book will be a great resource. In the story Macy collects seeds in a can to try to make an empty space beautiful. The community was very sad to see an old building go and become an empty lot, so she decided to make it a garden. She started to garden with her friend, Miss Rosa and after time the whole community was involved. Macy along with her neighborhood created a beautiful garden together. If everyone did not work together Macy would have had a much more difficult time completing the garden. The excitement of the community working together to make something beautiful is what motivated people to pitch in. This book can teach children that even though they are young they can make a difference. When people come together they can do big things. When the building was taken down the neighborhood became sad, it looked empty. Macy had a great idea to put a garden there to bring happiness to the community. This idea brought the community together and made people happy with the help of her neighbors. 

I would start by telling the class we are going to learn about raising awareness. I would tell them that we are going to read a book that demonstrates raising awareness. I would show the students the cover and have then analyze it and predict what the story would be about. I would then read the book to the children. After the story was over I would begin a class discussion about what it means to be helpful and make a difference. I would ask the students to share a personal story of how they were helpful at one time. After this I would explain that we were going to do a project where they have to come up with their own idea of what they could do to help their community just like Macy did. This would be an individual project that they would have a few days to work on. I would have the students write a paragraph or two about their plan and draw a picture that demonstrates their idea. After the project is complete I would have the students present their ideas to the class. This will teach the children that they can come up with great ideas, and that they really can make a difference. 

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