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

The Great School Clean-Up
Lesson 3
From Unit: Earth Keepers
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The purpose of this lesson is to engage the learners in a school wide clean-up event. Learners will be asked to participate and reflect on the activity by creating a heightened awareness of community based environmental issues and how everyone should be good stewards of the Earth.


One Forty five minute class period: The duration of this lesson is flexible due to the service component.


 The learner will:

  • participate in a school wide clean up.
  • engage in a classroom discussion focused on community based environmental issues and stewardship.
  • reflect on school wide clean-up activity through the use of group discussions and individual journaling.
  • participate in a school wide clean up.


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.

In this lesson learners will be asked to participate in a school wide clean up of the school grounds and the building. Learners will be meeting a continual need in their school community as well as understanding the concept of stewardship. Learners will be given the opportunity to reflect on their service activity through whole group discussion and independent journaling.


  • Garbage bags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rakes and brooms
  • Flowers and shovels (optional)
  • Journals
  • Digital camera


Handout 1
Family Letter

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Prior to the start of this lesson you may wish to ask learners to bring in rakes, shovels, gardening gloves, leave and trash bags, and any other clean up tools that may be necessary for the success of the activity. Meet students in a classroom discussion area to prepare for the clean up event. Teacher should  begin by building classroom excitement for the activity. “Today we are going to  help celebrate our Earth by being good stewards and by working together to  keep it beautiful! We all have a part to play and if we work together we can  really make a difference.”

  • Begin by grouping learners in clean-up teams. Parent volunteers would be very beneficial for the clean-up teams.  Assign each team to an area of the school or school grounds to focus their cleaning efforts. (Hallway clean, playground, in front of the school, side yards, etc...)

  • Offer suggestions for improvements. Learners should clear the area of trash, wash off graffiti if necessary, and rake leaves, sweep hallways or sidewalks. Learners may also choose to plant flowers with the given permission from the school. Be sure to address proper conduct during event.  Learners should demonstrate appropriate behaviors as ambassadors of the school.

  • Begin clean up: Allow time to complete event.  Depending on the need you may wish to work for an hour or for an afternoon.

  • Allow learners time to come together as a class to discuss their clean up activities.  Each group should share what they have done and how it made a difference to their school community.
    Learners should reflect individually by writing in their journals about the event. Why was it needed?  What effect did it have?  Should it be continued?


The assessment will be teacher observation of service activity and group discussions. Learners must also be able to answer the why, what, and should questions in their reflection journals.

School/Home Connection:

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
Attachment One: Family Letter, Lesson Three:  The Great School Clean-Up  The parent letter should be sent home prior to the lesson in order to allow parent time to collect needed items and give them the opportunity to volunteer their time to help in the clean up activity.

Lesson Developed By:

Tracey Fritz
Mona Shores Public Schools
Churchill Elementary
Muskegon, MI 49441


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Family Letter

Dear Families,

Did you know that we share the Earth with people all around the world? In school we have been learning about how important it is for us to help keep our world clean.  We can all be good stewards of the Earth.  We need your help! We will be having a “ GREAT SCHOOL CLEAN-UP” on (insert your date and time).  We are in need of extra hands to help and some needed clean up supplies.

These are the items we need:


(Insert your supply list- this would be based on the needs of your school)


Please consider sharing your time with our class and volunteering to help! If you can help please complete the attached form and send it back to school as soon as possible so that we can begin to organize our event.  If we all do a little, a lot can get done! Thanks for your conssideration!



_______Yes! I am willing to help. I can:

_______ donate the following items for the clean-up:





__________________________volunteer my time!


Contact number:____________________

Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Earth Keepers Summary


Watercolor Ways
Beginning At Home
The Great School Clean-Up

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