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, November 30, 2015

What Do You Do With An Idea?

What Do You Do With An Idea?

What Do You Do With An Idea?
Author: Kobi Yamada 
Illustrator: Mae Besom 
Grade: Pre K-2nd Grade 

Summary: What to do with an idea? is a book that offers much more than an amazing story but it offers a wonderful idea to challenge readers on changing the world. Creative and mindful writing along with vivid illustrations takes the reader through a story of a little boy and his magical idea. Along his journey with his idea portrayed as a golden egg wearing a crown we see him struggle with his idea, getting scared and nervous, even uncomfortable as to what to do with this idea. In the beginning he almost wants nothing to do with this idea because it only makes him unsure. Soon enough as they spend more time together and he starts to warm up to the idea of his idea! This little boy now accepts what he has and wants to share it with the world, even though some laugh at his idea, he knows he change the world with it. What he realizes through all of this is that he needs to support, take care of, and love his idea because of how special and important it is to him. This idea that this little boy has had all along gave him the ability to see the world differently and with a different perspective. He learns something very valuable in his journey and that is with perseverance and dedication, an idea can change the world and yourself forever.

Element 6: Taking Social Action 
           In this element we are to explore the opportunities to take action on issues that affect students and their communities. What is great about element 6 is that it gives students a chance to identify issues that are important and meaningful to them and find a way in order to change these issues personally. This is the last element and elements 1-5 have set us up with the knowledge and skills in order to take action on the issues that have been affecting us and the ones that still are. This is a chance as teachers to encourage students to have an idea that they create on their own and are passionate enough about so they can change the world. We want our students to feel empowered by what they can do and if they take action on their idea they can change themselves along with helping others. The story, What to do with an idea? sends an indirect but completely clear message to young children that many leaders and mentors have shared before. It’s the message that no matter how big, small, weird, or normal an idea is, if you are patient, persistent and take action on it, change can happen. The reason that this books works well for element 6, especially with young children is because it turns away from the typical books about taking social action that children are already familiar with. This book allows teachers to bring students back to their roots as to how these social actions even start and how do they take place. They happen because someone somewhere has a brilliant idea that they are passionate about and want to use it to make a difference. This is a great book to read to a young audience so we can have our future generation of students be individuals who aren’t afraid to take action on their ideas!

Activity: This is a great book to introduce to a young grade level and before reading it to the class, I would want to know their “ideas” about what they might think this book is about. I would ask the students to look at the picture on the cover page, while my hand is covering the title so I can ask “What do you think this story will be about”? or “What do you think is going to happen in this story?” just based off of the illustration on the cover page. After revealing the title of the book, I would then ask students to think of an idea they have that will help solve an issue whether in their life, or in school, or in the community or in the world. I would want them to hold on to this idea throughout the story. I would also be asking my students while reading the story, “Have you ever had an idea that you were unsure about”? or “Have you ever had an idea that you were scared to share”? or “Have you ever felt the same way as this little boy before”? All questions that can help my students relate to the story. As an activity, I would have the children go back to their desk and think about that idea that they I told them to hold on to in the beginning of class. Then I would tell my students to draw a picture and write 3-5 sentences about an idea they have on how to help solve an issue in the world by taking action on it. After everyone is done with this activity, I would collect everyone’s paper and create a book for the class. I can then read the book after putting it together to share everyone’s ideas on taking social action.

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