Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

I Feel Angry or Sad When… (3-5)
Lesson 5
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


To engage students in cooperative learning activities to identify proper procedures for common school activities that promote the common good.


Three Forty-Minute Class Periods.


The learner will:

  • brainstorm school experiences where students have the choice to act respectfully.
  • incorporate vocabulary applicable to philanthropy themes in conversation.
  • distinguish selfish and selfless actions relating to school procedures and rules.
  • engage in a learner-produced dramatic exhibition contrasting selfish and selfless behaviors.
  • demonstrate through his/her drama the relationship between behaviors and how the behaviors relate to the common good.
  • identify in scenarios how the rule of law promotes the common good.
  • identify instances through drama when a student does not need the teacher’s permission to act for the common good.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

See Lesson Six: Is There a Stone in My Soup?


  • Scenario cards
  • Attachment One: Scenario Cards and Attachment Two: Family Letter
  • Writing and drawing utensils
  • Paper
Handout 1
Scenario Cards
Handout 2
Family Letter

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Teacher will enter room displaying inappropriate classroom procedures. Two students should work with teacher so the teacher can do the following activities: cut in line, interrupt, push, tattle, etc. Have class members identify the negative behaviors and consequences, and the positive alternatives and consequences. Develop a definition of common good and relate that to school and classroom climate.

Day One:

  • Students and teacher will meet in a circle. Each student will respond to the following statement: “I feel angry or sad when…” The students will then divide a paper into two parts. They will choose one of the ideas discussed at circle time and illustrate, using words or pictures, the behavior practiced correctly and incorrectly.
  • Incorporate philanthropy terminology into conversation for later use in scenarios.


(n) Selfless concern for the welfare of others – altruist (n), altruistic (adj.), altruistically (adv.)

Common good

(n) Involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.


(v) To work together toward a common cause – cooperation (n), cooperator (n)


(n) Identification with and understanding the feelings of another person – empathetic (adj.), empathic (adj.)

Ennobled self

(n) Defines when a person acts upon their own personal values and in turn experiences a feeling of personal satisfaction - defined by Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule

Ethical decision-making

(n) Using a set of morals/values when problem-solving

  • Assign School/Home Connection.

Day Two:

  • Break the students into five groups. Have each group draw a scenario card. See Attachment One: Scenario Cards . The group will then brainstorm ways to act out the scenario in two ways; one in which the rules are followed appropriately, one in which proper rules are ignored. The students will act in both selfish and selfless ways. They must involve each student and be ready to perform their dramatic representation on the following day.

Day Three:

Groups will take turns performing scenarios. The group will not reveal in advance their scenarios. The audience will then discuss and guess the scenario performed for them. The audience will identify selfish and selfless behaviors, examples of the rule of law, and the importance of following rules for the common good.


  • The teacher will determine from student illustrations if the students understand the concepts of selfish and selfless behaviors. The teacher will observe the performances and look for evidence of students demonstrating both selfish and selfless behaviors. The students will orally identify the desirable behavior for proper procedures at school.
  • Evaluate the group work using the following rubric:
  • 4 points: Group worked cooperatively, each member assuming an area of responsibility, cards assigned demonstrated accurately, philanthropy vocabulary terms associated with lesson performed with competency. All social studies and art content standards demonstrated with 90% or greater accuracy. Each member demonstrated listening skills during other presentations. Each member participated in discussions.

    3 points: Group worked cooperatively, with each member participating 80% of social studies, and art objectives met. Philanthropy concepts demonstrated in presentation. Members participated in discussing other group presentation.

    2 points: Not all group members participated in creating their assigned scenarios. Group did not present selfish and selfless behaviors. Less than 60 % of content standards and benchmarks in art and social studies were met. Participation in group discussion of others was limited.

    1 point: While an attempt was made, scenarios were not completed and only one behavior was demonstrated. Content standards were not met. Group members did not participate in discussions of other presentations.

    0 points: No attempt was made by the group members and no scenarios were produced.

School/Home Connection:

Attachment Two: Family Letter Complete with family member.

Lesson Developed By:

Beth Paparella
Mona Shores Public Schools
Lincoln Park Elementary
Muskegon, MI 49441


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Scenario Cards

Students lining up to go on a school trip.

Students standing in line to get a drink.

Students walking past other classrooms in the hallway.

Students eating their lunch in the lunchroom or cafetorium.

Students sitting in a circle listening to others share.

Students listening to the teacher give direct instruction.

Students participating in silent read time.

Students riding a school bus.

Students approaching two people talking.

Students encounter a visitor to the classroom.

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Family Letter

Dear Family:

Please read this to your student and discuss the statements before he/she responds. Students in grades 3-5 are to write sentences describing their pictures.

  1. Jim and Mickey want a double chocolate ice cream cone. The ice cream store has only enough for one cone.
    Draw a picture that shows how Jim could act in a selfless way.

  2. Jim found a five-dollar bill in the lunchroom. How would Jim show ethical decision-making? Draw a picture or write a sentence.

  3. Empathy means, “identification with and understanding the feelings of another person.” How can you show empathy?

Philanthropy Framework:


Christy, Teacher – Holton, MI10/12/2007 8:37:08 AM

Students enjoyed acting out the scenarios. I didn't grade them - but we discussed each one as it related to being selfish or selfless.

Kathy, Teacher – Holland, MI10/12/2007 8:38:48 AM

We utilized the body movement aspect to solidify the actions at school which would demonstrate respect, tolerance, and cooperation. The kids were motivated and enjoyed acting out scenarios.

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