Standing Up By Sitting Down
Happy MLK, Jr. Day. In Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, Andrea Davis Pinkney's portrayal of the Greensboro Four of the 1960s, they sit at a counter waiting to be served. Peaceful and polite, the four friends weren't breaking any laws. In fact, they even used manners when they ordered their coffee and donuts with "cream on the side" at that Whites-Only restaurant. Segregation laws not only kept them from being served, but also resulted in them being ignored. Sit-ins were significant to the Civil Rights Movement, and many of them resulted in cruel, violent acts. But not this one. These four boys remembered Dr. King's message: We must meet violence with non-violence.
The ten-step "recipe for integration," a Civil Rights Timeline, a photograph of the Greensboro Four in Woolworth's, a more in-depth look at the incident and times, and book and website resource recommendations at the book's end serve as a bonus for our 21st century learners, who might have difficulty understanding and/or relating to the injustice of segregation.
Have you ever staged a sit-in? My son Jacob led one while he was in his Social Studies class during sixth grade. It was empowering. Not only did he feel listened to, but he also felt heard. I distinctly remember him coming home that day, certain that he'd convinced the Principal to make the changes that he and his friends had peacefully negotiated. What are the hot topics that your students wrestle with at school? In Jacob's case, he was asking for Meaningful Movement Mondays. In a nutshell, I think his group wanted more recess. But it was a really good strategy by his teacher (YAY Mrs. Appel!!) to get her students thinking about how to bring about change. Coincidentally, we now celebrate SPARK day on the first Monday of every month to encourage teachers to intentionally infuse meaningful movement and wellness tips into their lessons. Use this book to spark a discussion about socially-acceptable ways to help students become change agents in their world today.