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, November 30, 2014

Element 6: Taking Social Action - The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change

The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change

Barbara A. Lewis

Age Range: 11 and up

Grade Level: 6 - 12

Paperback: 144 pages

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing (December 15, 2007)

Purchase The Teen Guide to Global Action” online.

To find a book about Service Projects for younger students click here.

This is a good book for a young person who wants to make a difference in the world but is not very clear on how to get started. The book starts with the 4 Steps to Global Action. 1. Find your cause (includes a survey to determine interests) 2. Research your cause (media, texts, internet) 3. Plan your action (volunteer, organize service efforts, advocate for a cause, protest) 4. Take action (includes 5 step action plan).
The book also includes a section that addresses how to connect with others or form your own group. Additionally it includes 7 categories of causes: Human Rights; Hunger & Homelessness; Health & Safety; Education; Environment & Conservation; Youth Representation; Peace and Friendship. The 7 categories each include facts on the issue, how to keep it local, and how to take it global. The Teen Guide to Social Action also has stories about current activist called “Difference Makers” and past activist.

That’s a lot, right?

Too much to go into a whole bunch of detail. That’s why it’s good to remember that this book is merely a guide, as the title states, to help you get started or steer you in the right direction if you’re stymied. The organization of the book is a bit confusing but other than that I would recommend it. This would be a good book to use in a social studies unit.

Element #6: Taking Social Action
“The Teen Guide to Global Action: How to Connect with Others (Near & Far) to Create Social Change” is clearly a book that supports Element 6 – Social Action. I like that the book discusses taking social action both locally and globally.
Not only does this book provide a guide to students on how to take social action in a variety of causes, but it also shares stories of young people past & present who have already taken social action. I feel this is an important aspect of the book because it can provide a confidence boost to students. A student might think “if that young person did it then so can I!” There is a story about Benjamin Quinto in the book that describes how this young man took social action to create an organization involving a global network of young activist that gained a position within the United Nations. There’s also the story of Cindy Perez who played a major role in getting the Dream Act passed which allowed immigrants who are not yet citizens access to a college education.

Follow-Up Activities:
1. Have students take the survey in the “Teen Guide to Global Action” book in the “Find Your Cause” section. Divide the class into two groups of the most popular causes. Have one group take local action by researching the social justice issue and/or e-mailing officials. The other group can take global action by creating posters/ T-shirts etc. to use for raising awareness in conjunction with fundraising efforts like bake sales.

2.  Have students choose the social injustice issue that they would most like to work with by completing the survey in the “Teen Guide to Global Action” book. Grouping students by their cause of choice, have students use the resources provided in the book to research opportunities to volunteer in support of their cause. After completing a minimum of one hour volunteering, students should write a brief essay about their experience including their observations.

3. Have the class randomly choose a cause for their project. The class will work in groups to create dialogue, props, posters, etc. for a brief play/public service announcement/role play, etc. Students will be videotaped acting out their scene. Students will e-mail the video to family and friends and ask them to share the video on social media. (Students who prefer not or are not allowed to be in the video can work on props, posters, T-shirts, dialogue, etc.)

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