We pulled together seven at-home activities and lessons that will help your students learn about giving and service on their next day away from the classroom.
We get it, sometimes mother nature has a way of interrupting your planned curriculum and scheduled classroom activities. But she doesn't have to stop you from helping your students to learn how to become giving and caring citizens!
You may be tempted to hand over reading lists to ensure your students are staying on top of their studies even while out on a "day off". Reading is a great snow day activity and you could require just that, or you could check out this guide for simple activities and lessons to help your students feel inspired and empowered to practice generosity, kindness, compassion, and caring.
Assign 1, 2, or all of the below lessons and activities to your students at the beginning of the year or term. Then, as a snow day arrives, a power delay, or teacher in-service day comes up, the students know that they have specific lessons to complete! With a little creativity, each activity below can be catered to any grade level or age group.
Time, Talent, Treasure: Some students have endless energy. Why not put it to good use by shoveling snow, raking leaves, or planting flowers around the neighborhood. The students may even decide on a cause or charity and start shoveling, raking, or planting for donations. This activity is all about the importance of volunteering your abilities to help others.
Time, Treasure: Students could watch the documentary The Gift of All: a Community of Givers and identify the motivations and attributes of the generous people interviewed. Students could then read, summarize, and report on short biographies of philanthropists when they return to class.
Time, Talent: If it’s just too cold, rainy, stormy, windy, or muddy, your students can still do good by staying inside. They could find scrap pieces of material or shirts to make blankets for the homeless or decorate brown bags for Meals on Wheels or a food basket. Or, students could go through their own toys, books, and clothes and put together a pile for donation. When the class reconvenes after the day off, you could take a trip to a local shelter to give the donations and learn about how the shelter helps those in the community. (We offer mini-grants for projects like this!)
Time: Students research local nonprofit organizations in their area and pick one to write a short 1-page essay on. In the essay the student will highlight the organizations' mission and values, how the organization interacts with the community, and why the organization was of interest to the student. The students will present their summary in small groups during the next in-class session.
Time: Sometimes snow days and the like are called on super short notice, so you may not have supplies handy to give to your students a head of time. Watching a movie can be easy and relaxing. Lots of movies have messages of kindness or generosity. Encourage your students to check out titles like, "The Lorax," "Pay It Forward," and "He Named Me Malala." As part of this activity, the students draw a picture summary to share in class that outlines how the movie inspired kindness and generosity.
Time: Students are often asked to volunteer or meet a certain number of volunteer hours before they graduate from high school. But, do they really understand why they serve? This mini-course is designed to help define philanthropy and service for students and adults alike. The course describes the research-based motivations for giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Students will be prompted to explore how and why to motivate themselves and others to serve. Each participant is guided to write a "Why I Serve" statement.
Time, Talent: Give students the agency to pick their next service and philanthropy inspired lesson. Ask students to visit learningtogive.org and to search for lessons based on their own passions, interests, and expertise. Require each student to select one lesson and prepare a persuasive 1-minute presentation as to why the whole class should complete the lesson they selected. Then, after the students present their selections in the next in-class session, pick 2 or 3 of the top presentations and schedule in those philanthropy lessons before the end of the term or year.
We put together seven excellent activities for your students to tackle on their "day off". Each activity highlights the power of philanthropy as the giving of time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Our lessons, along with your commitment, inspire students to recognize and believe that we all have something to give and we can all make a difference in the world.
Just because your students are out of the classroom doesn't mean they can't still spend some time learning how to be giving and caring citizens. Use this guide to help your students feel inspired and empowered to practice generosity, kindness, compassion, and caring.