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

Houses and Communities
Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


By comparing homes around the world, students recognize that homes suit the environment and fit the needs and resources of the community members. Students gain sensitivity to the importance of a home as a place where families can be together and find shelter. Students define community and recognize that houses are a part of a community. Through literature, students gain understanding of the feelings of persons without houses.


Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • compare his or her own home to those of others throughout the world.
  • define shelter as a need rather than a want.
  • create a cutout of a home and label with words about the value of home.
  • write (or dictate) about the value of having a home in a community.
  • define community as a group of people living in the same area and under the same government; or a group having common interests and likes.
  • define philanthropy as the giving of one’s time, talent and/or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good.
  • brainstorm acts of philanthropy related to homelessness.

    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.

    Students choose a service project to carry out related to homelessness.


    • Houses and Homes by Ann Morris (see Bibliographical Resources)
    • Someplace to Go by Maria Testa (see Bibliographical Resources)
    • paper, scissors, and markers for making homes
    • lined paper
    • world map
    • pushpins
    Handout 1
    Assessment Rubric

    Instructional Procedure(s):

    Anticipatory Set:

    Draw a picture of a home and ask the students what it is. Ask them why homes are important? Do we need them? Why? Then show a magazine cutout picture of a home and ask if everyone around the world lives in a home that looks like that. Allow the class to brainstorm what they already know about homes. Are all of them the same?

    • Display the world map and locate where we live on the map, marking it with a pushpin.

    • Tell the students that they are going to hear a story that describes the types of homes that people live in all over the world.

    • Read the story Houses and Homes by Ann Morris, stopping at appropriate times to mark the spots on the world map that are described in the story.

    • Discuss the different types of houses. Why are homes different? (money, climate, resources)

    • Make a Venn diagram with the class to compare and contrast their homes with one of the homes (of their choice) from the book.

    • Point out that homes within a community are often similar to each other. They should not feel sorry for people who have different styles of homes, but recognize that the environment and needs (and expectations) are different in different communities.

    • Discuss what parts of homes are needs and what parts are wants. Lead the students to recognize that shelter is a need, but things like carpet, paintings, and fancy furniture are wants. Discuss the important things that are going on in all homes (talking, sleeping, eating/cooking, caring).

    Day Two:

    • Read Someplace to Go by Maria Testa. In this story about a homeless boy, the students may recognize that a house is not just a shelter, but a place where they feel safe and loved. A house is a place where you feel connected to family and the community. Encourage the students to respond to this text and each other about the value of a house—how people benefit from having a house.

    • Write down the things they name in their discussion that they get from having a home (safety, warmth, rules, a place to go, love, etc.). Save this list for the following day.

    • Give students construction paper for designing a home. Tell the students to label the house with some of the benefits of houses (warmth, shelter, love, family, etc.). Attach a sheet of lined paper to the back of the home with staples along the top or left side. Students cut the writing paper so it is the same shape as the home. They write on the paper one sentence starting with "A home is a place where . . ." Display the completed homes.

    Day Three:

    • Remind the students of the book read in Day Two about the homeless boy who didn’t have anywhere to go. Refer back the list you made from their discussion about the value of having a home.

    • Ask the students whether people in the community have a responsibility to each other. How do they feel about the boy in the story not having a place to go? What would they do if they knew the boy?

    • Review the definition of philanthropy as the giving of one’s time, talent and/or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good. Help the students choose one feasible philanthropic activity they can do from their list.

    • Help the students make and carry out a plan for a philanthropic activity related to homelessness. This may include activities such as donating blankets to a homeless shelter or volunteering as a class at a clothing distribution site or soup kitchen. Have students keep journals and draw pictures of the project. Make a class book documenting the service project.


    Assess student dictation or writing project on Day Two using the provided rubric on Attachment One: Assessment Rubric.

    Bibliographical References:

    • Morris, Ann. Houses and Homes. HarperTrophy, 1995. ISBN: 0688135781

    • Testa, Maria. Someplace to Go. Albert Whitman & Company, 1996. ISBN: 0807575240

    Lesson Developed By:

    Marilyn Castillo
    Godwin Heights Schools
    North Godwin Elementary School
    Wyoming, MI 49548


    Handout 1Print Handout 1

    Assessment Rubric

    Student Name_______________________ Date _________________________

    Score for Language ____________________

    Score for Writing _____________________







    Gives directions non-verbally

    Gives one- or two-word directions

    Gives directions with short phrases

    Gives more details in complete sentences



    Drawings with a few words

    Writes a phrase

    Writes a complete sentences

    Writes at least three sentences with a beginning, middle and end




    Philanthropy Framework:


    robin, Teacher – newnan, GA10/6/2006 9:57:35 PM

    I thought this lesson plan unit was great! Thanks for the inspiration:)

    Sadia, Teacher – Karachi, Pakistan3/5/2013 12:48:50 PM

    A great lesson plan! It really helped me make my own.

    Keerthana, Educator – HYDERABAD, India10/17/2013 11:30:20 AM

    This lesson plan was good.

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    Unit Contents:

    Overview:Sense of Community (A) Summary


    Houses and Communities
    Using Senses in My Community
    Eating Together as Good Citizens

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