National Writing Project

A Moment of Understanding: Getting on the Bus of Justice

By: Jan M. Sabin
Date: April 2008

Summary: In this chapter from Writing Intention: Prompting Professional Learning through Student Work, Jan Sabin, who is with the Upper Peninsula Writing Project, demonstrates how she pushes her second graders to write about social justice issues by focusing on familiar things like the cafeteria, the playground, and their homes.

 

Excerpt from Chapter

Students stand up and do stamp-stamp-clap motions to the verse. Then we role-play a few of their stories. Mikael acts out a time he was teased about his choices in clothes. His friend Annie defends him by saying people shouldn't be teased about the style or color of their shirts explaining that different outfits make kids more interesting. Maggie chimes in about a time kids were making fun of her little brother's hair cut. She demonstrates how she told them to stop because it made him cry.

The home assignment is a rough draft from which comes one single sentence, hand-printed on a special form and glued to a bright yellow construction paper bus shape.

Students practice reading their sentences to one another. The 'bus of justice' is a timeline of important civil rights' dates. Drawings of Lincoln, Parks, King, and Bridges peer out of the Windows.

Copyright © 2008. Reprinted by permission of Michigan Reading Association.
Sabin, Jan M. 2007. "A Moment of Understanding: Getting on the Bus of Justice." In Writing Intention: Prompting Professional Learning through Student Work, edited by Cynthia Clingman and Antonio Tendero, 20–24. Grand Rapids, MI: Michigan Reading Association.

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