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One Plastic Bag

Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

Elementary

Description

One Plastic Bag is the uplifting true story of Isatou, a young Gambian girl, who teaches the value of perseverance with an idea despite being scorned by others.  The use of plastics in her village increased to the point that garbage became large a problem. With an interesting idea, Isatou comes up with a solution and with the help of others turns the environmental and physical health of her village around. 

General Assessment

Recommendation of how and where to use it

One Plastic Bag would be a great resource as a springboard for Earth Day activities or a school wide venture into a community action project.  Other smaller scale activities include:

  • The students could learn to crochet or knit as a book extension.
  • On YouTube there is a video of Isatou Ceesay showing how to make the purses with recycled plastic bags.  This could be viewed and then the students could make their own.  This would be most appropriate for Grade 4 students (or older).
  • Students could explore the country of West Africa or the city of Gambia and learn more about its culture, its people, etc.
  • Students could research how to make other recycled items and begin to produce them.  A fair could be held and other classes invited to visit and purchase the items.  Monies raised could be donated to worthy causes as exemplified in the book.
  • Students could make Before and After posters of the plastic bag situation in Isatou's village.  Alternatively they could research their own recycling issue and create a Before and After campaign complete with radio, tv and print advertisements.
  • Students could research and create a presentation for their own town/city council to ban the use of single use items such as plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, etc.
  • There are some materials available online that link directly to the book.
  • Excellent Children’s Literature with STEM component

Relevant Grades and Subjects

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction