Age Range: 4 to 8
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Age Range: 4 to 8
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Family Under the Bridge
Written by Natalie Savage Carlson
Pictures by Garth Williams
Presented by Jackie, Joanne, & Katie
The story is about a homeless man named Armand, who says he is homeless by choice. He likes living his life without having a job - and says children are like starlings and it's better to live without them. One day three children and their mother move out under the bridge in "his spot." When Armand discovers this he is very upset and tries to kick the children out. But the children do not understand completely, so they try to appease him by making him "his own room." The mother comes back and is protective, and does not appreciate Armand being there. She tells him to leave and never come back. However, Armand is touched by the children and their situation - he feels the need to help them out. He takes them to see Santa Claus and the children ask Santa to give them a real home. As Armand grows to love the children more and more, he realizes that in order to provide for them he will need to get a job and have a real home. So he gets a job as a caretaker of a building, which comes with the added benefit of a free home.
In our reflection, it makes us think about the different reasons for homelessness and whether or not it is actually a personal choice or true helplessness. In addition, it also touches on lifestyles that are not socially acceptable, like the gypsy lifestyle. One thing that was surprising, was a strong lack of a parental role due to the mother going off and working - leaving the children there. The duty she had to bring home the bread caused her to neglect them in a sense. At one point, her children are almost taken away from her as a result. This was a very touching story about a man discovering who he really was a nd what really mattered to him - "his heart grew three sizes." One of the things this book really seems to lend itself to is "the conversation starter." You can go so many places within the realm of social justice just by beginning that talk of what does socially acceptable mean and how much worth should the phrase actually have. So perhaps this is good to read in the beginning of the year to create a community for social justice. This can go into a unit on needs and wants really well - what getting those things really means – and it also shows kids who maybe do not see their parents/guardians as often as they'd like why and what they are doing and that it is for them.
Domains of Social Justice
1.Self-love and Acceptance: Children are able to explore self-love and acceptance through Armand’s gradual acceptance of and loving himself and those around him.
2.Respect for Others: This book displays the respect and diversity of various cultures, particularly the gypsy culture. it also allows students to explore “social acceptance” and moreover, students are able to understand other people's needs and their own – it can help students explore and notice perspectives of their surrounding cultures and their own.
3.Exploring Issues of Social Justice: This book allows students to explore issues of homelessness, different types of families, poverty, hunger, sexism, ageism, and classism -they can even go further in learning about how each of these are interrelated to one another.
4.Social Movements and Social Change: Students can explore and learn how people have struggled for social change. Students can learn about the various factors that lead to homelessness and poverty and its effects on people in the present. Students can explore and learn about the similarities and differences in the -isms that exist in the book (written in the ninteen fifties) to the present time [there's about a fifty year time gap]. Students can research and learn about what people have done and have been doing to not only reach out to people affected by poverty/homelessness/hunger and -isms, but also expose others to the ramification of these issues, including various family models.
5.Taking Social Action: Students can take in and implement their learnings on social justice issues by creating a community showcase of presentations. Also, they can focus on homelessness and poverty in their own community and go further into seeking ways to make a difference and exploring the idea of “socially acceptable” and “needs and wants” through concrete and visible evidences around them. They can seek out organizations that are a part of their community to help them take social action through service and promotion – whether it is having a meeting/interview with those who work with the homeless population or going to a soup kitchen and serving and reporting back about their experiences through various means with the class.
Authors: Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann
Group: Amy Chan, Lilian Ng, Angelia Lui
Pinkalicious loves the color pink. She wears pink, owns only pink things, and paints in pink all the time. The problem is, though, that black is the color that is considered “cool”, not pink, and all the other girls in her class tease her maliciously because of her love of everything pink. They also refuse to play with Pinkalicious because of this, leaving her to play alone after school. Pinkalicious becomes so upset by the teasing and the lack of friends that she goes home and cries, feeling like nobody understands her and that she is all alone in this world. She even decides to not like pink anymore, opting to wear blue instead and eating a plain vanilla ice cream, not her favorite Plum Pink Perfection ice cream. Then one day, Pinkalicious notices a girl in art class drawing a beautiful picture of a blue cake. Much to Pinkalicious’ surprise, the girl actually likes pink and even insists that it would be the perfect color to add to her picture. In the end, Pinkalici
ous has finally found someone who has accepted her for who she is, and they become friends.
At first sight, this book looks like a simple little children’s book, used for students no older than those in first grade. However, as we read the book a couple of times and looked through the pictures, there are a lot of hidden messages that can be discussed with third or even fourth graders. The simplicity of the text holds very sophisticated, in depth thoughts of peer pressure, feelings that children and people in general go through, being accepted/fitting in, and being yourself.
How the book can be used/curriculum units:
Activity 1: “The Power of Colors”
BEFORE introducing the book, have students brainstorm and/or freewrite about anything that comes up in their minds when they think of the color black. Then have them do the same with the color pink. AFTER reading the book, discuss: Why is black considered cool? Who decides on what the “cool” color is? As a project, students can take their favorite color and create a picture with only shades of that color. In writing, they will explain their picture. (the picture can be a reflection to the book)
Activity 2: “Fitting in, Being Accepted, and Being Who You Are”
This unit can start with discussing what peer pressure is. During this discussion, have students refer back to the book, and talk about how peer pressure affected Pinkalicious emotionally. How was Pinkalicious feeling when her favorite color was being made fun of? Although no one made fun of her when she was blue, how was she feeling then? Script writing and role plays can follow this discussion.
Activity 3: “Math with the Color Purple”
Using color dye, students can explore the different shades of purple using red, blue and white. They can record the number of drops of each color that it takes to make each shade of purple. Using the pattern they find, they will continue the number pattern using predictions. This activity can be an introduction to a lesson on skip counting, or multiplication.
Social Justice Curriculum:
1. Self-Love and Acceptance: Students will love themselves for who they are. They can relate to the text by thinking about the different situations that they have been in (examples: when they were teased, when they liked something that others did not) and look to Pinkalicious as a model that it is okay to be proud of who you are and what you like.
2. Respect for Others: Pinkalicious never ridiculed the others just because they wore black or were different. She was very proud of herself until they started to pick on her. The author addresses respect for others by showing that even though they specifically demonstrated to her that pink is not a cool color, Pinkalicious still respected what others favor, even when she does not like it herself.
3. Exploring issues of Social Justice: Students will tackle and learn more about acceptance, bullying, gender roles, and being an individual who is not afraid to be different rather than conforming to the norms of society or to what others believe are "the best."
4. Social Movements and Social Change: Students can explore the text and connect with personal experiences as well as the significant actions and emotions of significant figures. They can see the struggles that others went through in order to finally accept themselves and understand that they are not the only ones who struggle, but that they are the ones that need to take a stand for what they believe in.
5. Taking Social Action: Students will focus on their own classroom on how they can develop tools to work for change. As a first step, they will choose something that they truly believe in and love and may possibly be afraid to share with others (for example, a boy might say that he likes the color pink). They will make a booklet or a video about how this affects themselves and others by showing the importance of accepting oneself, despite what others say. If this is a great concern, anonymity may be used but there should be a section where the children are described individually by gender, maybe race, physical description, etc.
By Eve Bunting
Link to where you can purchase book:http://www.amazon.com/Smoky-Night-Eve-Bunting/dp/0152018840/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207618761&sr=8-1
2.) Respect for Others- Strengthens intercultural competence. In the book during the time of crisis the characters realize they’re need for one another and the importance in getting to know each other despite cultural differences.
3.) Exploring Issues of Social Justice- Racism, Classism, Sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression are confronted. The characters in the book begin to talk tone another and find similarities between each other.
4.) Social Movements and Social Change- Students learn how people have struggled for social change. The characters come out of the crisis of the LA riots and offer friendship to each other, inviting one another over to their apartments.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Presented by Yerlina, Priya, and Liav
This book can be purchased at:
From Publishers Weekly
Ransome (Satchel Paige) creates a striking juxtaposition of closely focused paintings and collage borders incorporating powerful historical photographs. These images will make a strong impression on readers of this expository chronicle of events preceding, during and following the civil rights movement, as Ransome's artwork makes large ideas comprehensible through visual details. The singsong rhythm and "House-that-Jack-Built" meter creates a chilling contrast to what's going on between the lines: "These are the buses—a dime buys a ride,/ but the people are sorted by color inside." Ransome shows the demarcation of the bus's white and black sections, and in a border across the top creates a collage of stirring portraits. Text and artwork similarly depict segrgated lunch counters, libraries and schools. One of the most powerful spreads portrays three black children stepping into a newly integrated school ("These are the students who step through the doors/ where people of color have not walked before"), Confederate flags flying, while a photocollage on the top edge shows the fractured images of angry white bystanders, effectively emulating a mob mentality. Concluding spreads demonstrate the contrast today, with images of a multiracial array of people waiting to use the same drinking fountain and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in one voice at school. This will provide a solid springboard for adult-child discussions, especially since younger readers might need help deciphering some of the poetic narrative's references. All ages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Reading level: Ages 4-8
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Amistad (December 27, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006055519X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060555191
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
I found THIS IS THE DREAM to be very powerful, not just through the use of the words in the verses, but through the detailed and vibrant pictures accompanying the verses. Of all, I felt the title sent an extremely strong message to me as the reader, that today, we are living in is the dream people had struggled towards. As I read each page, I felt there were strong emotions of pain, sorrow, struggle and strength being exuded through the verses and through the pictures. Although each page captured a different emotion of mine, one of the pages that really resonated with me was the portrayal of the three African American students stepping foot on a territory that was not considered theirs until recently, a school that was becoming integrated. Alongside, there were various pictures of Caucasian students, teachers, etc. angrily watching as these students were entering. This page really resonated with me because it showed change in action, it depicted strength, courage and resistance and demonstrated the results of will power.
How I would use the book/activities/ curriculum:
This book would work well on several levels. It could be tied in during Black History month and/or during Poetry month. Students could write poems reflecting on their feelings after reading THIS IS THE DREAM , but rather than sharing it with the class they would have the option of keeping it for themselves. A whole unit on change can be created, and students can explore what took place in the past, the change that occurred as history progressed forward and how change is occurring today. As we mentioned in class, students should really be aware that change is constant, and change is in our hands.
1. Have students listen to a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. Talk about how this relates to the book. Was his dream realized? Have the students brainstorm ways that his dream could become even stronger today.
2. Civil Rights Leaders: Four civil rights leaders are pictured in the book. Have students work in groups and research how these individuals contributed to the civil rights movement. Have students look for other civil rights leaders.
3. Long Road to Equal Rights: Have students work on a time line for the civil rights movement. Give various events starting back with the constitution, abolishment of slavery, African Americans gaining the right to vote, integration of schools, etc. This will show students that equality for African Americans has been a long and challenging process.
4. Discrimination Today: Discuss the concept of discrimination. Have students list ways that people are still discriminated against today. What other groups are discriminated against?
Art- Have student use magazines, photographs and drawings to make their own collages to represent their reflections of this book.
Music-Find recordings or lyrics of these songs that were sung during the Civil Rights Movement. Have students write a brief journal about why they think the songs were important. ("Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing,"We Shall Overcome." "Oh, Freedom." "Only a Pawn in Their Game," "I'm on My Way." “How I Got Over.")
Domains of Social Justice:
Self-love and acceptance: Students learn to love and be proud of who they are and in doing so students should be encouraged to continue express themselves in a safe and positive manner. Through poetry or reflecting in their journals, asking questions, etc., students should be given the opportunity to take time and share their feelings and experiences whether it is privately or with the whole class. In THIS IS THE DREAM even though the African- Americans entered a new school which they knew they were they were not welcomed by everyone with open arms, they still maintained respect for themselves.
Respect for others: Towards the end of THIS IS THE DREAM there is an image of a group of people of various races waiting in line to use the same drinking fountain, depicting acceptance and showing the change that has occurred over the years.
Exploring issues of social justice: THIS IS THE DREAM addresses issues on racism and segregation, struggle and the power of change. It identifies the events the occurred prior to the Civil Rights Movement, during and after. More importantly, students can begin to explore the power they have to create change in the community.
Social Movements and social change: By reflecting on what has occurred, students can take a proactive approach about certain issues that might be occurring in their community (classroom, school, social community) and begin to discuss how they can create a positive change. Perhaps it would be best by beginning with something small, such as an issue that maybe occurring in the classroom (i.e. sharing). Students can learn to become aware that they are makers of change and that they have the power to change certain issues by working together and moving forwards with a positive attitude.Related Books that could be used in addition to this could be read as an introductory lessons to Civil Rights, Rosa by Nikki Giovanni and excerpts from Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue with Today's Youth by Rosa Parks, The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles, When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
(1) 50 Years Later: Brown v. Board of Education
Commemorate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling with free online resources.
(2) National Rights Museum
Allows the student to interact with activities, see photographs of famous people and see exhibits about the Civil Rights movement. This site introduces students to people who have fought and dedicated their lives for freedom.
(3) Factbites/Civil Rights Act 1865
(4) The Civil Rights Movement, A Photographic History, 1954-1968 www.abbeville.com/civilrights
(5) Timeline of the Civil Rights Movement
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Summary: The Skin You Live In written by Michael Tyler and illustrated by David Lee Csicsko was the debut publication of the Chicago Children’s Museum 2005 and is an important story for every child to read. Through a lively yet simplistic nursery rhyme style, this text delivers the vital message of social acceptance to its readers. Throughout the text various children with different colored skin talk about all of the wonderful things that they can do in their beautiful skin. In talking about their skin the voices heard in this text utilize simplistic language to tackle some major themes of child development such as self-acceptance, diversity, self-esteem, friendship, and social justice issues. In addition, this text displays children of various skin colors participating in and enjoying the same activities thus demonstrating the idea that even though these children may look different, they are in fact very much the same. Finally, the powerful words in this text talk about what skin is and what it is not therefore conveying the fact that having a certain skin color does not and can not make you “smart” or “dumb,” “tall” or “short,” or “rich” or poor.”
Reflections: The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler is an incredibly energetic story filled with vivid illustrations and relevant issues regarding today’s youth. We all loved reading this book and with the turning of each page we were more and more excited to hear the fun yet informative rhymes that lied ahead. Based on our excitement, we are confident that students will also be engaged and entranced by this powerful text. While this book may seem like a fun and simple read to some, to us, this text is filled with issues of social justice revolving around race, adoption, and being biracial or multiracial. After we read the story aloud we discussed how this text teaches children about all of the different skin tones that there are in a non-threatening way by comparing them to different ice cream flavors and talking about how different people in the same family can have different skin colors as well as how what each child does in their individual skin makes their skin and them significant. In addition, we found that this story taught students different ways in which they could accept and embrace their own skin color and the skin colors of others due to the wonderful things that we, as humans, do in our skin every day.
How I would use this book/curricular units: This text would be wonderful to utilize in the classroom when introducing the students to issues relating to race, the many ways people are alike and different (depending on the grade level), and in working on descriptions of self. While this story does not introduce the term race or racism, it does portray many different people of different races and could easily be the starting point for a discussion of what race is and is not. The students could look at where the people of each race come from geographically and how these locations have effected the color of their skin by talking about the role of melanin in determining skin color. In addition, this text can be used to talk about how people look different from the outside and that even though the most obvious body part, the skin, may be different from person to person that the color of a persons skin does not change what is on the inside and students can study the body to see that humans are all composed of the same organs, muscles, and bones. Finally, this story would be great to read when working on a unit in which students need to describe themselves. After reading this text students will recognize that their skin color is significant and all their own. They can write about the color of their skin, what it makes them think of or how it makes them feel, and create art projects in which they mix paint colors until they have created their own personal skin color and use that color to paint a self-portrait that they can hang in the classroom along with a description of who they are, where they come from, and why they are proud to have the skin that they are in.
Elements of Social Justice Education: 1) Self-love and Acceptance: Students will learn to love themselves for who they are and where they come from. They will see themselves in the text by being able to relate to one of the many children featured throughout the colorful illustrations as well as different activities described in the text that children do in their wonderful skin. In being able to relate to the words and images of the text, reading this story will foster a sense of acceptance not only for the students themselves and where they come from, but of other students and their origins as well. 2) Respect for Others: Students will learn to investigate other people and cultures and appreciate them for what they are by looking at the different skin tones of people from different cultures, talking about where these people are from in the world, and how the places in which they live effect the color of their skin tone. In concordance with this they will obtain a deeper understanding of skin color and respect and accept all people regardless of the color of their skin for who they are and where they come from. 3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students will discuss and learn more about racism, adoption, and being biracial or multiracial and the effects that these issues have on all people. 4) Social Movements and Social Change: Students can explore the issues presented in the text and discuss how people have worked to change society like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did during the Civil Rights Movement when he worked hard to ban segregation, or separating people because of the color of their skin, in public establishments. In addition, they can connect these worldly issues, social movements, and social change to their own classroom and create ways in which they can combat similar issues that they see occurring in their classroom. 5) Taking Social Action: Students will learn how to take action and create social change on their own by looking at issues in the text, relating those issues to others that they see in the classroom, learning about how issues like these were and still are handled on the public scale, and utilize all that they have learned to synthesize and implement a plan for social change in their own classroom community.
Book: Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Link to book:
Suki's Kimono is the story about a little girl who receives a kimono from her grandmother over the summer and attends a special cultural festival. She loves the kimono so much that she decides to wear it on her first day of school. Her sisters try and talk her out of wearing it telling her that she should try to wear something "cooler" and "newer", but Suki is not persuaded. When Suki gets to school she gets laughed at and teased for being different. In class when asked what she did over the summer she retails how her grandmother gave her the kimono and their adventure at the cultural festival, she then begins to dance as if she was at the festival. When she is finished everyone applauds her.
First Activity: Students will work in small groups and can pick a member from the community who has immigrated to the U.S. They will interview them about the struggles they have faced in maintaing their culture and resisting conformity.
Second Activity: Writing Workshop-- Students research and pick a cultural object that means a lot to the. They can write about why it is important and how it relates to their culture.
Group: Susanna, Jasmine, and Elyse
Written by Katie Smith
Illustrated by Eugene Fernandes
Link to where you can buy the book:
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from
One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. This help comes in the form of a microloan, a lending system for people in developing countries who have no collateral and no access to conventional banking. Microloans have begun to receive more media attention in recent years. In 2006 Muhammad Yunus, a Bangledeshi economist who pioneered microloan banking, won the Nobel Peace Prize.The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore.
Reflection: This is a great book to use in the classroom because it shows something that appears to be small can make a big difference, such as the loan to buy one hen. This book depicts the fact that one person can cause a change is he or she works hard enough. If people work together, they can help this individual bring about this change. Rich illustrations accompany the text as the theme of the book shows that change is possible, and it starts with just one person.
How the book can be used/curriculum units:
First Activity: Students will work in groups to research an organization
and write a proposal to the school for why they should support the
organization. They will present he proposal to the school, asking
them to vote on which program they would like to be involved with.
After choosing an organization, the students will create a plan to get
the school and wider community involved in their cause. They will
write letters to small businesses asking for donations, fundraise, and
set up food, clothing or school supply drives depending on their
Second Activity: Writing Workshop-- Students pick a change they would like to bring about and write about this in their writer's notebooks. They write about the first thing they should do, as the one who starts this change.
Third Activity: Teacher can hand out a "small loan" to all the students. For example, she can hand out a box of markers to each student. In 2 weeks, we can what we did with those markers and if we made any difference with the markers. Discuss the similiarities and differences between what we did and what happened in the story.
Domains of Social Justice:
1. Self-love and Respect: The students will discuss how Kojo, a young
boy had a great deal of confidence and determination to help out his
family and village, and make a change in the world. Students of
African background may coke connections to the conditions in the book
and express love and respect for their culture. Students will learn
about their responsibilities in their families and how they are
important to their own families and communities as well.
2. Respect for Others: From learning about a different culture and
comparing and contrasting their responsibilities and structure of the
community, students will respect Kojo's culture and
hardships of Kojo's community, but also how rich in culture and values
their community is, and how they all took initiative to make a change.
3. Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students will learn about the
disparity of wealth from one country to another. Many countries in
Africa have had to endure many years of injustice, specifically, the
had to endure over the years, including colonization, political
strife, unfair trading. They will explore how other countries are
affected by modern industrialization and unfair trading.
4. Social Movements and Social Change: Students will learn about how
the people of
government and make efforts to stabilize the economy. They will
discuss the steps people took to try and establish fair trade and
develop bank and loan systems to help small villages. They will learn
how people and organizations and are working to make larger changes in
political and economic systems.
5. Taking Social Action: They will earn about different organizations
(especially those included in the book) that help create positive
help build schools and recruit teachers. Students will choose an
organization to become involved with, writing letters to local
businesses to fundraise for a loan, and also set up a relationship
with a school in
Author: Francesco D'Adamo
Grades: 4 and up
Summary: Through the eyes of Iqbal's fictional coworker (Fatima), D'Adamo retells the true story of Iqbal Masih. Iqbal, a 13-year-old boy from Pakistan, is originally sold into servitude. This story takes place in a carpet factory where children work all day in hopes of paying off family debt. When Iqbal arrives, he quickly points out to the others that no matter how much they work, their debt will never be paid off. Iqbal is determined to raise the spirit of the children by teaching them to believe eventually they will be free. One day Iqbal escapes and makes contact with the Bonded Labor Liberation Front. With the help of the BLLF and together with his coworkers, Iqbal exposes the corruption within the country and works to free other children sold into servitude.
Reflections: After reading this book, all three of us were brought to tears. This story of a young boy inspiring other children and people around the world to fight against the injustices and harm being brought upon the working children of Pakistan is quite powerful. Though told from the perspective of a fictional character, Iqbal was a real boy which makes his story all the more inspirational. We felt truly affected and changed by learning about Iqbal's story. We feel that illuminating others to issues around child labor as well as reading a story with Middle Eastern characters (which are not often found in classroom literature) would be a valuable as well as effective piece of classroom literature.
How to use this book in the curriculum:
- works well as a Read Aloud
- could be used as a novel for a unit on child labor, children's/human rights, capitalism, and/or fair trade
- looking at modern day heroes and/or children who are heroes
- historical fiction unit
- great book for a classroom library
- literature circles
- writing letters, persuasive/informative essays, etc.
Domains of Social Justice:
Self-love and Acceptance: Children begin this story being treated like dirt. By the end, these same children learn that they are valuable and begin using their voices to express that to all enslaved children.
Respect for Others: This story glimpses into the lives of enslaved children from Pakistan. By reading "Iqbal" students will have a better understanding of what an enslaved child laborer must go through on an everyday basis.
Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Classism and ageism are definitely confronted in "Iqbal." Poor children are forced into a life of enslavement, treated like animals, and manipulated for their illiteracy. They are oppressed for the benefit of their oppressor. This is one boy's story of how he stood up for himself and all of the other children.
Social Movements and Social Change: Iqbal is based on a true story. Iqbal was a child who wanted to change his situation and make it better for everyone. He aligned himself with an organization that uncovered hidden child labor camps. He was very brave.
to purchase "Iqbal": http://www.amazon.com/Iqbal-Novel-Francesco-DAdamo/dp/0689854455
website made by middle school class about Iqbal:
Cassandra Lyhus, Alissa Levy, Celeste Mason
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Link to where you can buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Clara-Freedom-Reading-Rainbow/dp/0679874720
Summary: This is a story about an African American girl's escape from slavery on a Southern plantation. When the rigors of cotton-field labor overwhelm Clara, a kindly woman she calls Aunt Rachel trains the girl to be a seamstress in the main house. Like most slaves, Clara longs for freedom and yearns to be reunited with her mother. Becoming proficient in her sewing, she begins in her off hours to put together a map-quilt, stitching in any information she can get from overheard conversations about an escape route to Canada. Reflection: I think that this book is very sweet, with well developed characters and a victorious story-line but I don't think that it correctly portrays the life of a slave. All of the pictures are painted with very bright colors and it makes it seem like it was easy for slaves to escape from the south. I think that this is an appropriate book for younger students learning about slavery because it doesn't include many gruesome details and it allows you to sympathize with the characters a lot.
Book Use/Activities/Curricular Units: To help your students sympathize with the characters, you could present a concept/imagine lesson.. Each concept is paired with an imagination activity for students so the teacher reads the concept aloud to students and then offers a brief period for questions. Next, read the imagining exercise and last, allow students to share imaginings and realizations with the class.
For example: Concept: Clara is separated from her mother before her twelfth birthday. During the times of slavery, it was quite common for the children of slaves to be taken away from their parents. Many slave children were taken away while still an infant. (This practice of separation was used to alienate slaves, deprive them of an emotional support system, and make them feel less human.) Imagine: that when you get home from school one day, someone takes you away to a place far away from your family and tells you that you must stay at the faraway place forever. Imagine what it might feel like thinking that you will never see your family again. [Pause while students imagine. The thoughts you have may be very similar to the thoughts of Clara and many slave children of the past.]
Domains of Social Justice: This book offers a perfect opportunity for teachers to discuss AAVE (African American Vernacular English) with their older students. AAVE is also popularly known as Ebonics. AAVE is a distinct language variety with specific rules regarding grammar and word pronunciation. Because all of your students are either speakers of AAVE or come in contact with speakers of AAVE, it is important to affirm the idea that AAVE is not a sub-standard variation of English. Rather, AAVE is a linguistic variation that developed in specific socio-cultural conditions and is not related to one’s academic abilities. Many children that learn AAVE in their home learn Standard English as a second language once they begin school. For further reading before lecturing on this concept, you may wish to read the following web page that includes a description of the opposing opinions regarding AAVE:http://www.une.edu.au/langnet/aave.htm
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Title and Author: The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
Link to where you can buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Kapok-Tree-Amazon-Forest/dp/0152026142/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206845386&sr=1-1
Summary: The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry is a story about a man who falls asleep in the Amazon Rain Forest after trying in vain to chop down a great big Kapok tree before succumbing to fatigue and the rain forest's hot climate. While asleep, the man is visited by many of the different animals in the rain forest that rely on the tree for either food or shelter. The animals implore the man not to cut down the tree and inform him of just how important it is to everyone's, including his own, survival.
Reflection: I really liked this book. I thought it was very informative about many issues that people tend to overlook. The impact that humans can have on the rest of the world is a very important concept that children should be taught about early on. This book is a nonthreatening way to introduce the destruction and exploitation of many of the world's natural resources and the sooner children learn about it, the earlier they can start taking measures to stop it. The illustrations are beautiful and do an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the rain forest.
Book Use/Activities/Curricular Units: This book could be used for several different units. It could be used for learning about the various rain forests, habitats, ecosystems, exploitation of natural resources, etc. This book could jumpstart a discussion about what people can do to save the rain forests or other ecosystems that may be in danger of being completely destroyed. It can jumpstart a research project where students research and investigate just how living things in different ecosystems are being affected by forces of consumption and production. Students could then write their own stories or plays about other creatures telling their story and seeking to save their own. They could role play or act out their own stories in front of other classes. Afterwards, they could write letters to the companies that are causing the destruction of these ecosystems telling them of the negative impact they are having and start petitions stating that they will no longer use their products.
Domains of Social Justice:
Respect for Others & Social Movements and Social Change: This book has underlying themes of respect for all living things, not just people. It highlights just how interconnected we all are and how the actions that we might take for granted, can cause someone or something else to lose everything. It stressed the pitfalls of ignorance and encourages being informed and finding out what you can do to protect the rain forest and by extension, the earth.
Summary: This is a true story of an Arizona-born Billy Wong who was the first-ever Chinese bullfighter. As Billy grows up, his father tells him, over and over again, "In America you can be anything you want to be.'' Billy retains his fathers advice as he visits Spain and faces one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another on his triumphant way to the bull fighting ring. While striving to become a bull fighter he is held back by his appearance when he is often informed that "Only the Spaniards can become true matadors." So he stayed in Spain and went to bullfighting school, but after two years passed without fighting a single cow, Billy realized that a Chinese matador might stand out in the crowd of aspiring bullfighters--as indeed he did. After his first success as El Chino --The Chinese--in his native costume, Billy received an offer to become a real matador. Say's text renders Billy's complex story with simplicity and grace, and provides inspiration in presenting Billy as an endearing, determined hero.
Reflections: This story was great because it gave perspective into the life experiences of a first generation Chinese immigrant. The idea taught to Billy by his father of having the ability to be anything you want to be in America, is a similar idea that immigrants from many diverse share. The main character, Billy, was at first held back from his goal of becoming a matador because the Spaniards doubted his abilities based upon his appearance. However, this book teaches the reader that by persevering and embracing your true heritage will help you in accomplishing what you want to be.
How this book can be used: The author Allen Say has written several books that all revolve around the same theme of Asian immigration to America. His various books provide multiple perspectives on the process and experience of immigrants. Since there is a similar theme throughout his stories, this book would be good for an author study. This story can also benefit a unit on immigration because it depicts the effects of immigration on people throughout their lives and into adulthood. I would also use this book to focus on the lesson of the story which is to strive for anything you want while still embracing your cultural backgrounds. The main character was only acknowledged after he showed his true identity which made him stand out among the rest of the people. This book can encourage students to take pride and share the traditions of their culture because it is that part of their identity that makes them a unique individual.
Domains of Social Justice: 1) First generation Chinese immigrants may relate to similar struggles that faced the main character. Chinese students may learn about traditional clothing of the Chinese culture. 2) Students learn about one immigrants experience and can relate that to their own immigration experiences or those of their relatives. Students might relate to similar harships that they or their family have experiences when immigrating. 3) Students explore issues of streotyping and prejudices and how these issues held back the main character from achieving his goal. 4) Students learn from the obstacles and struggles this main character faced. Students discover ways to change negative perceptions other people make by maintaining determination and embracing ones own cultural heritage.
Monday, March 24, 2008
By Hannah and Hoose
Link to where you can purchase book:http://shop.scholastic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=18839&langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10004
Summary: PreSchool-Grade 2-Based on a song, this occasionally stilted narrative has a message: respect all creatures and their right to live. A bespectacled ant, loaded down with two shopping bags, is confronted by a human youngster intent on stepping on him. Before the boy can carry out his threat, the ant begs him to reconsider. Each double-page spread is devoted to one character expressing his opinion in the life vs. death debate. The brightly colored, full-page cartoon illustrations, rendered in pen, ink, and watercolor, capably convey the obvious differences and the surprising similarities of the two main characters. The boy is urged to look at things from the ant's point of view before deciding on his course of action. The tale's conclusion is open-ended as readers are asked, "What do you think that kid should do?" The accompanying picture shows a huge sneaker posed above the tiny ant. The music and verses appear on the last page of this tepid tale that could lead to discussions concerning bullies and/or the protection of other species.
Reflection: This is a really good story that shows how to look at things from a different perspective. It shows how a giant person and little ant have more in common then from looks on the outside. The book is also open ended and it allows the children reading the book to take part in the story and decide based off what they have learned in the story weather of not the boy should crush the ant
Domain of Social Justice Education:2.) Respect for Others- Strengthens intercultural competence. The boy looks at life from a different perspective. Sees that the ant’s life is very similar to his own.
3.) Exploring Issues of Social Justice- Racism, Classism, Sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression are confronted. The boy looks at things from a different perspective. He used to make judgments based off appearance. He thought because the ant was tiny and small he wasn’t like the boy at all.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Summary: It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr is a fun-loving story about the many differences that exist between all people and a unique way in which we can embrace and celebrate those differences. Even though this text may appear to be silly and simple, it’s bright, bold colors and powerful words carry a strong message. The appearance of this text draws students in and the messages of understanding, acceptance, and confidence in oneself keeps them entranced from beginning to end. Combating issues of racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, and more this is an important text for all children to be exposed to.
Reflections: It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr is a wonderful story filled with eye-catching illustrations and meaningful narration. I really enjoyed reading this book and each time I read it to children I saw just how much they enjoyed it too! Although this book looks very simple at first glance, it displays issues in today’s world that are relevant to students and need to be discussed. As I read the book for the first time I felt that the way in which Todd Parr discussed heavy issues such as racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. was brilliant and appropriate for young readers. Written in a simple and repetitive manner, this book states many ways in which all people are different and repeatedly asserts that these differences are “okay.” Even though there is no mention of the terms racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. the issues are there and it is up to the person reading the book how much depth and detail they will discuss based on issues that the book presents. Finally, I think it is great that this book discusses more than one issue because the fact is that there are many issues of social justice and children need to learn about all of them not just racism.
How I would use this book/curricular units: This text would be great to use when introducing students to the terms of racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. In addition to introducing these terms, this book could be used to discuss what each terms definition is, what they mean to the students, and how Todd Parr portrays their meaning in his book. In concordance with this, students can discuss whether or not racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. exist in their lives and the role that they play in their lives. The teacher can ask students to not only share the factual information regarding their experiences but how those experiences made them feel and what they would have done to change the situation if they could. The teacher can also have the students create a role-play that they will perform in front of the class in which they act out a scenario demonstrating the meaning of one of these terms and the effects that these terms have on others. Then, the students can talk about what should have been done differently and recreate the scene showing how people can combat racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. through their words and actions.
Elements of Social Justice Education: 1) Self-love and Acceptance: Students will learn to love themselves for who they are and where they come from. They will see themselves in the text by being able to relate to one of the many descriptions given and recognize that just as Todd Parr writes about these differences he also writes about the fact that it is okay that these differences exist thus fostering a sense of acceptance for others as well as ourselves and where we come from. 2) Respect for Others: Students will learn to investigate other people and cultures and appreciate them for what they are by looking at not hiding from what makes people and cultures different, talking about those differences, and accepting and respecting others for who they are and where they come from. 3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students will discuss and learn more about racism, ableism, perceptions of beauty, immigration, homophobia, adoption, etc. and the effects that these issues have on all people. 4) Social Movements and Social Change: Students can explore the issues presented in the text and discuss how people have worked to change society using Todd Parr as an example for writing this book. In addition, they can connect social movements and social change from the outside world to their classroom and discover ways in which they could combat issues similar to those in the text. 5) Taking Social Change: Students will learn how to take action and create social change on their own by looking first at their own classroom and the existence of issues like bullying and its underlying themes to take action against issues such as ableism, racism, classism, perceptions of beauty, etc.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
by Jonah Winter and Francois Roca
Muhammad Ali Champion of the World is a picture book about Ali’s professional boxing career. It is written with a poetic feel, possibly alluding to Ali’s style of speech. It quotes some of Ali’s famous sayings, and uses a unique font to convey a strong message about determination and believing in yourself. The book highlights moments of Muhammad Ali’s professional career, from when he changes his name to when he refuses to fight in the Vietnam War. The book ends with the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” where Ali defeats George Foreman in Africa.
I chose this book because I wanted to expose my students to a famous African-American who is overlooked in the social studies curriculum. I thought that my students would be interested in hearing Ali’s story because he is a famous person who is not discussed in schools; he is an icon of determination and strength, and some of my students were familiar with his name.
When reading this book to my students, they were extremely sensitive to the racism that was apparent during Ali’s time. Students exclaimed, “That’s racist!” and it evoked some powerful emotions.
How I used the book / Curriculum Units:
I used this book initially as a read aloud to introduce some new vocabulary words to the students. However, since the book conveys such a powerful message, I also used it for accountable talk asking students to critically discuss the major issues in the book. Students were prompted with different note cards that said things like “Muhammad Ali is (or is not) a leader because…” and “Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali because ______________. I think that…”
This book can be used to introduce a unit on positive role models and what it means to be a role model in a community. In addition, this book may follow a slavery unit where it can be used to talk about the impact of slavery on future generations of the African-American community. Slavery affected Muhammad Ali, and students can refer to his experience to explore how slavery in this country’s past affects us today.
Portions of this text can be used in a poetry unit, especially because Muhammad Ali was famous for quoting poems to predict the outcome of his fights. He coined some famous quotes that are still used to today, such as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.
Domains of Social Justice:
1. Self Love and Acceptance – Students will learn that strong faith in themselves will help them accomplish great things. Muhammad Ali continuously believed in himself through the hardest times and was able to become the champion of the world. Students may discuss what a role model is and what it means to be a role model in today’s society.
Students may also engage in a study of Africa, exploring Ali’s strong sense of African pride and connecting that to a study of students’ ancestors.
3. Exploring Issues of Social Justice – Students will discuss aspects of racism Ali faced during his professional career. It will help put into perspective the effects of slavery on people of more recent generations.
4. Social Movements and Social Change - Students will explore Muhammad Ali not only as a boxer but an international humanitarian. He has been an advocate for the world’s hungry, and helped those in need in his home country as well. Students will continue to explore what it means to be a role model, and how they can be an advocate for change as well.
5. Taking Social Action – Continuing in Ali’s footsteps, students will choose a cause that they strongly believe in, or contribute to an organization that Ali is an advocate for. They can do something simple such as volunteering in a soup-kitchen, or contributing to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Research Center or the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Book Group # 2
Title of the Book: Private and Confidential A Story About Braille
Author: Marion Ripley
Illustrator: Colin Backhouse
Summary: Private and Confidential is a story about a young girl who longs to have a pen pal. When she finally gets one she discovers that her pen pal is visually impaired and that his sister has been reading him all the letters she writes him. The young girl initially becomes very upset about this but she then decides to learn how to write and read Braille so that her and her pen pals can keep their letters private and confidential between the two of them.
Reflections: This is a very simple story, but has an extremely powerful underlying message. The simplicity of the story is engaging though for young students and it’s not just a sappy story about someone who is visually impaired. It can bring up many discussions about a number of different issues, but it especially touches on the topic of how to treat others whom have handicaps or disabilities.
How would I use the book/curriculum units: I recently used this story as a Read Aloud in my student teaching placement in a second grade general education class. I chose it as a read aloud because it was an engaging story and it is a great way to introduce children to the subject if visual impairment. My students loved it. They were extremely attentive and engaged throughout the whole story. Wow! They were also so taken back by the idea of writing and reading in Braille that they asked if I could teach them how to read/write in Braille. Granted this is something I do not know how to do but the back of the book contains some basic to learning how to read Braille so along with my students we learned how to do some reading and writing in Braille. We also then read a book on Louis Braille the inventor of Braille which then led into a geography lesson on
After reading the story one of my students mentioned that their grandmother was visually impaired. Another one of my students mentioned that his grandmother was losing her vision and that she often read books on tape so he thought it would be a good idea if some how we could put our published pieces on tape and then send it to her nursing home. I was really impressed with the students’ initiative to think of ways to be more considerate of people having the same opportunities as them. The students discussed how they thought we should do something to ensure that all people are able to read out stories.
Domains of Social Justice: 1) Domains of self-love and acceptance: Students learn to love themselves for who they are. In this case Malcolm who is visually impaired teaches his pen pal that although he has a visually impairment he is still a kid like everyone else and believes he deserve to have the same opportunities to do things like having pen pals like every other kid. He teaches Laura about the cool things he knows like Braille.
2) Respect for Others: In the story the other character Laura learns to appreciate Malcom for Malcom as a person not just by his visual impairment. Students will understand that people are defined by who they are not their disability. Students will learn ways to more considerate of others needs in our everyday world.
3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students can think about how they can make small changes in their everyday world to accommodate those with special needs or disabilities. Students can observe how places that should be public are not accommodating to all people
4) Social Movements and Social Change: Students can make changes in places that are not accommodating to all people or even make changes in their own classroom, school, or community.
1. Self-love and acceptance- The teacher can invite a Japanese-American or a WWII veteran to talk with the class and share his or her story. The teacher can ask students if they know anyone who was interned in the camps and have them write a reflection on how this changed
2. Respect for Others-The book could serve as an introduction to Japanese culture by discovering the cultural importance of the objects left on graves--rice cakes, origami birds, cherry branches and so forth.
3. Exploring Issues of Social Justice- Students can learn about issues of racism, segregation, relocation, and freedom that Japanese were faced with.
4. Social Movements and Social Change-Students can use the web sites below to research historical background and pictures of the Japanese relocation camps. Students can build a memorial in their community for all the minority groups who died in the internment camps and will not be forgotten.
5. Taking Social Action-While Japanese-Americans comprised the overwhelming majority of those in the camps, thousands of Americans of German, Italian, and other European descent were also forced to relocate there. Many more were classified as "enemy aliens" and subject to increased restrictions. As of 2004, the U.S. Government has made no formal apology or reparations to those affected. The following organizations aim to exchange information on Japanese culture, community, history, social services, and public policy issues.
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Japanese American National Museum, Little Tokyo Service Center, Rafu Shimpo, Japanese American Network.
1. http://www.lib.utah.edu/spc/photo/9066/9066.htm (Shows photographs of what education, living, labor, and buildings were like during this time period)
2. http://www.historyonthenet.com/WW2/japan_internment_camps.htm (Provides books, DVD’s, posters on WWII Japanese Internment camps and activities teachers can use)
3. http://www.densho.org/learning/default.asp (Provides free multidisciplinary curriculum unit lessons that introduce students to questions of civil liberties in relation to the life experiences of Japanese Americans.)
4. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8420/main.html (Lists many unread web documents that many US history texts fail to mention, a timeline of events, and photographs)