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

Making the World a More Beautiful Place
Lesson 6
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Students will be exposed to literature that illustrates how responsible citizens participate constructively in their communities.


One Thirty-Minute Class Period


The learner will:

  • identify and describe the behaviors of the characters.

  • define philanthropy.

  • describe how the people can work to make the world a better or more beautiful place.

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 can design and carry out a plan to make the world a more beautiful place. Ideas include cleaning up a park, planting flowers, and organizing a recycling effort.


  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (see Bibliographical References)
  • Journals or paper
Handout 1
Jobs in the Community

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Ask students if they can think of anything they can do that would make their school, home, or community a more beautiful place. Write down student ideas and save them. Then tell the students you are going to read a story about a woman who made the world a more beautiful place. Read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

  • Read the book to the class. Point to key picture items.

  • On selected pages, stop and encourage the children to interact with the book in the following ways:

    • Identify key items in the picture that will aid in listening comprehension.

    • Hypothesize about what may happen next, what the motives of characters might be, and why something is happening.

    • Label the feelings of the characters.

  • Discuss how Miss Rumphius was working alone, but as a member of a community. What community job did she hold? How did she help people? When she traveled, did she become part of other communities?

  • Tell students to draw a picture of themselves making a small part of the world a better place. They may refer to the list generated before the story. Ask them to think about whether they are sharing time, talent, or treasure in their drawings.

  • Ask the students if anyone in the story is acting like a philanthropist based on the definition that a philanthropist shares time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

  • Introduce the experiential component. Have students keep a journal account of their project. They should include planning notes, progress reports, and any data about time, materials, quantities, etc.


Note and record as appropriate how children:

  • discuss and label the feelings of the characters.

  • draw themselves making the world a better place.

  • participate in the discussion of the meaning of philanthropy.

Curriculum Connection:

Language Arts Connection: Have students design seed packets for flowers. The words on the package should appeal to Miss Rumphius.


Math Connection: Bring in a potted flower in a pot. Allow the students to estimate and then measure the flowers in total height and width as well as measuring elements of the individual flowers. Ask the students for ideas about how they can measure its mass.

School/Home Connection:

  • Interactive Parent/Student Homework:
    Discuss the various jobs in the story and talk about jobs that students may want to have when they grow up. Ask each child to go home tonight and interview his or her parents about their jobs. The next day, they may either share a picture or a verbal/written description of their parents' jobs. (See Attachment One: Jobs in the Community from Lesson Six: Making the World a More Beautiful Place.)

Bibliographical References:

Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. New York: Viking Penguin, 1982. ISBN: 0140505393.

Lesson Developed By:

Janice Peterson
Detroit Public Schools
Woodward Elementary School
Detroit, MI 48208


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Jobs in the Community

Let's find out what different jobs are represented in our classroom. Ask your family members to tell you what their jobs are and what they do. You can write about their work or draw a picture of them at their jobs.

Philanthropy Framework:


Teri, Teacher Saginaw, MI9/24/2007 8:45:07 AM

(The positive aspect of using this lesson was) the great book! It demonstrated ways we can make our community better for everyone.

Kathy, Teacher Holland, MI9/24/2007 8:46:26 AM

(The positive aspects of this lesson was) the pervious lessons have focused on relationships but this took us the next step to add the environment. We were able to discuss the various environments they (the students) live in, how to set goals, and how one person can make a big difference.

Laura, Teacher Albion, MI9/24/2007 8:48:06 AM

(The positive aspect of this lesson was) the students all thought of things they would do to make the world more beautiful (paint buildings, clean streets). They loved the book

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