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, October 18, 2018

Words Are Not for Hurting

Element 2: Respect For Others
Book Title: Words Are Not for Hurting
Author: Elizabeth Verdick
Illustrator: Marieka Heinlen
Age: 4-8 years of age

Words are not for hurting takes the reader on a journey of the very important purpose of letters. The author explains how we use the English alphabet with 26 letters to create millions of words. The creation of words is essentially in the hands of the beholder. With all of this power, why not use it for  something good? Through her writing the author offers self-reflective moments for students to digest the material and relate to her story. The text in this book is large, and easy to read. Additionally, Verdick uses a plethora of sight words making this book an ideal purchase for a P-2 classroom setting.

Action Plan
Have a discussion with your students about communication. Explain the different ways in which we communicate: body language, words, facial expressions. Have students offer up the different ways they communicate to different people: caregivers, family, teachers, waitress/waitor, mailperson. After having this discussion you can then move into how you show respect to these people and what respect looks like to them. **Do NOT push your own image of respect onto the children**

This activity should be a follow up after the discussion. Have students choose from: skit or poster. Students will create a scenario depicting respect. It can be an encounter with a friend, teacher, parent. They will have full creative power to show respect through their eyes by utilizing action as a means of expresssing this word. For the poster students will draw a scenario of a visual representation of respect. It can be a collage, drawing, words, anything that gets their point across- one student can be the artist and one can be the presenter but all students must work collaboratively.

Element 2
Respect looks different to each of us, and the word "kind" is very subjective. What is "kind" to one, may not register as "kind" in another mind. Element two focuses on respect for others. This book can be used as a way to get students to think about the ways in which they show respect, and what they identify to be respectful actions. Here, we want students to understand that kindness and respect comes in all shapes and sizes. One way we can show respect for one another is by using our words.

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