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.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why Should I Recycle?


This small, and colorful, book is about a little girl who learns about recycling through her teacher Mr. Jones. She begins by telling us that her family didn't recycle and they always had a lot of garbage. Throughout the book she learns what recycling means and gets to go to a recycling center to see what happens after everything is brought there. She even learns about having a compose in her house for her mother's vegetables. By the end of the book, she has gotten her whole family to recycle and notes that recycling is "kind to Nature."
Element 6: Taking Social Action 
While this book could be used to "Raise Awareness" of recycling, I feel that it shows how one little girl can change her family to "Take Action" towards recycling, and thus better the environment. This book is a great introduction to what recycling is, and how anyone can take part in it. Students can create change firsthand by recycling themselves, having their families recycle, or even having their school recycle. The book does a good job at describing how to sort through trash, how to reuse containers, and even how to use trash to make compose. It is a great starter book for children in the early elementary years to Take Action and recycle!

How to Use It:
As part of a Kindergarten class, this book could be incorporated into Language Arts/ Reading, as well as Social Studies. I would start by doing a read aloud with prompting questions such as "what is recycling," "where does it go," and "what can we do better in our class to recycle." After assessing for their comprehension, I would ask them if they would like to recycle. Granted their answer is "yes," I would then have them pair up and come up with ways THEY could help recycle. We would come back as a class and chart down their answers. After coming up with a "Recycling Plan" for themselves (and their families), we could then extend the project to the school. The children could draw/write their plans for the school (ex, a drawing of recycling bins with "we should have recycling bins on every floor"), and give them to the school administration. Working with administration, we would then be able to have their plans realized.
As a extension, we could also tie in Element 5, and come up with slogans to Raise Awareness of the importance of Recycling.    
Why Should I Recycle?
Written by Jen Green
Illustrated by Mike Gordon
Grade level: PK-3rd

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