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.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Giraffes Can't Dance

 Giraffes Can't Dance
Title: Giraffes Can't Dance
Author: Giles Andrede
Illustrator: Guy Parker- Rees
Grade Level: First
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Element #2: Respect For Others 

Summary: In the book Giraffes Can't Dance, Giles Andrede tells a story about Gerald the giraffe and how he loves to dance except he isn't very good at it. His legs were too crooked and his legs were mighty thin. At the Jungle dance all the animals were dancing a variety of different dances and they could really move. When Gerald decided to try it out all the jungle animals made fun of him saying "Giraffes can't dance!" But there was one little cricket who had all the confidence in Gerald if he just tried a different song. Gerald finally found his footing at the Jungle dance and all the animals were amazed and asked for lessons of their own.

Element #2 Respect for others: The jungle animals showed a great deal of respect for Gerald when they saw him dance on his own even though they were convinced Giraffes couldn't dance at all. When Gerald first tried to dance he simply could not do it and walk away from the dance floor feeling very sad. Once the cricket talked him into trying a different song Gerald got up and tried again. To his surprise the animals did not laugh, this time they were amazed by Gerald's dance moves and asked him how he learned to dance like that. The animals gave Gerald a second chance and they really came to respect Gerald and his bravery.

Activity: For the activity I would put together a class talent show and encourage everyone to participate. Students will learn how to show respect for others and their talents when they see that everyone is different. Not all talents will be the same and for that reason every performer will receive a round of applause after the act feeling well respected by their peers. Respect is something everyone deserves, especially your friends in class.

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