Sunday, July 9, 2017

Teaching Social Justice to Little Ones

I was watching the Daily Show the other day and Trevor was talking about how at least there is now a broader conversation when it comes to politics. I can remember being in high school and having to learn who the Speaker of the House was, etc. and after that lost an interest in politics. Ignorance is bliss, right?! :) 

 I think now, because of Twitter particularly-good or bad I am much more informed about what is going on not only in my state but around the world. I know many people who question what can they do to get involved and I think this generation is going to be one raised with a vast knowledge of social justice issues and their opinions of where they stand. I can tell you even my 5 year old Kinder students were already pretty well-versed in news stories and already pretty frustrated with trying to understand what was going on. I had a Student Council meeting where the kids were asking me what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans-I don't think I learned that myself until just recently and I vote in every election. We need to be an informed nation!

Anyway, I started cultivating books this year about people who stood up and started sharing them with my students. I actually wrote a Donorschoose proposal for these books and it got funded fairly quickly-many separate donors all voicing their approval of sharing these books with students. 

Of course as difficult as it is, I avoid taking a side politically (even though they begged me for weeks to tell them who I voted for) but simply want to give them role models for empowerment. It's okay to stand up for what you believe in, even if at first you are the only one standing!

 It's a little wordy for the little ones, I think we read it over 2 days. I love that Ruth was a bit of a rebel even when she was young-they wanted to try and make her right-handed since she was a lefty and she wasn't having any of that! I had a student who made "I dissent" her mantra this year. :) 

I tell my students all the time how they should be grateful for being able to come to school-not everyone has that right around the world. There is one illustration in this story that I skip because I think it's very scary but they do enjoy this book. They are very surprised to learn that everyone does not have the same freedoms we do.

I think we all know about Ruby Bridges and her brave fight to an education-but I for one had never heard of Silvia Mendez and her family fighting for the same right. Again, a bit wordy-but worth the investment.

This is the true story of a teacher and some students who took their futures into their own hands. Their city in Paraguay was the location of a huge dump and many people there spend days going through the trash looking for anything of value that could keep them alive. Ada and her friends created instruments out of that trash and went on to tour the world with their music. A great testament to not being stuck with your lot in life, but working toward change.


  1. You do such a better job than I do of sharing about topics like this with little people. It's not a topic that I love, so I'm sure that affects how I share in the classroom.

    1. I didn't always love it either-I blame Twitter! :) Now that I follow so many news accounts and see what's going on out there it has become more interesting to me.

  2. Great books! That's actually what I did my Masters project on....books about social justice and whether or not young children could reflect upon and have meaningful discussions about these topics. Thirteen years ago it was a lot harder finding the books. I'm SO glad you're reading them to your class :)

    1. Really, that's so interesting. I am also glad that books on the topic are easier to find now. It amazes me how the kiddos just eat them up!