Annie Glover has a problem. It isn’t that the community pool project she and all her friends are hoping for is in danger. It isn’t that there is a lone protester of the pool’s location. And it isn’t that the protester is chained to a tree, outside Annie’s classroom window, fighting for her cause for more hours each day than is healthy for a woman of her age. It is that the protester…is her grandma.
With a perfect view of the protest outside the window and a classroom full of kids willing to share every thought they have about it on the inside of the window, Annie Glover works hard to prove she is not a tree lover – and in the process, she might just discover a few things she is.
This is a great story with very likable characters that will have you sympathizing with them and rooting for them all at the same time!
1. Research protests organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. Make a list of them and choose one protest that was successful, and one that was not. Using a Venn Diagram (or any other diagram of your choosing) compare and contrast as many different aspects of these two protests as you can.
**When you are done, analyze the differences and see if you can find any from the successful protest that could have changed the outcome of the unsuccessful protest.
2. Elmer is not the only tree that people have fought to protect. Find the stories of The Treaty Oak in Austin, TX and The Survivor Tree at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. Write a short essay on why you think either of these trees has affected so many people. Would you fight to protect them?
3. Civil protests are an important part of our country’s history. They give us a way to stand together and speak out against things in society that we think need to change. Be it large like the civil rights movement, or small like the saving of a community pool, the ability to conduct yourself with honor while standing up for your beliefs is immeasurable. Whether it be safer parks in your community, fresher food in your cafeteria, or something specific to where you live, organize an effort for change. Keep in mind that this is not an opportunity to complain or be obstinate; it is an opportunity to find something you wish was better, make a plan of how that can happen, and get in touch with the people who can put your plan into action. Note: this is strictly meant for lessons done by a teacher or parent.
a. Gather your facts. Change is not conducted on a whim. There is a reason (however logical or faulty) for a system or situation to be in place. You must gather facts that support your cause and show how your plan is an improvement.
b. Identify your target audience. Complaining to the population at large is ineffective. Locate the people who have the power to make the changes you seek and get your information directly to them. Decide with your teacher or parent the best course: letters, phone calls, appointments, emails, or in person.
c. Follow up on responses. Many times, there is no response, and this is where peaceful protests come into play. If you are seeking healthier food in your cafeteria, for example, your response might be to convince as many people as you can to bring their own lunches. School districts have to assume they have a certain number of people to feed. If you have gathered and presented your facts promoting a better system (where they might buy healthier food on their budget, research that shows student performance on the rise when eating balanced meals, foods on the current menu that have no nutritional value, etc.), you have the right not to eat their food. This could potentially cost them money and they would have more of an incentive to consider your idea. Remember, you are not looking for the system to bend to your every wish; you are looking for an open mind that is willing to discuss the information presented and be open to the idea of moving in a positive direction.