Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride

This book is amazing to use for elementary grade level children when exploring issues of social justice. Not only does it discuss issues of racism it shares a story about another injustice Sojourner faced that is not as well known. This preliminary stance against sexism helped pave the way for other advocates for women's rights. The book touches on the 5 domains of social justice by allowing students to learn about their culture, respects others feelings, explore issues of social justice, understanding what actually happens while struggling for justice, and then developing tools to work for change.
For one, students will be able to learn about the phobias and racism that existed during slavery and how Sojourner fought against that oppression. She also pioneered the fight for women's rights and demanded respect for all the capabilities she had as a woman. Students will also be able to see that change does not come overnight, but, the seedling planted is what grows a huge tree over time, and that even if their goals are not accomplished today, there's always tomorrow, and always someone willing to pick up the torch to fight for social equality. Students will also be able to understand what roles they have in their homes, communities and schools and develop ideas and strategies about taking social action. No idea is too big or too small!
I really enjoyed the pictures in this book too. It stayed true to Sojourner's image. It was overall an amazing read. There are several lessons you can use with this one book too. For example, when discussing black history, one could use this book to explore justice issues of slavery and oppression and what ways are oppression made manifest today. Another use would be about women's rights and how women are often depicted as fragile and needy but Sojourner proved that that was not the standard. Then we can address issues of the constitution where it is written all men were created equal and why do they think the word women was left out. Was it deliberate? Maybe a change for justice would be to write an amendment and send it to Washington so that it can be changed.
I could keep going on an on, but I won't. Just grab the book and maybe we can put our heads together and develop a few lessons. :-)

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