Making a Choice

K, 1, 2

The students respond to the text of Miss Rumphius and write a class book about actions to make the world more beautiful.  Students learn that volunteering time, talent, or treasure for the common good involves choice, commitment, and inspiration. 

Lesson Rating 
One Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • respondto the story Miss Rumphius by describing the main character's actions and motivations.
  • brainstorm ideas for volunteering for the common goodto make the world more beautiful.
  • create a class book to be donated/shared.
  • define philanthropy as giving of time, talent, and treasure for the common good.
  • sortand graph the trash objects as they are brought from home.
  • A copy of the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
  • Paper for the class book (optional: Write a sentence starter on the page before copying.)
  • Crayons, colored pencils or markers
Home Connection 

Remind the students to bring in their found and recycled objects the next day for the art project.

  •  Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. Puffin Books, 1985.  ISBN:0140505393


  1. Anticipatory Set:
    Play the song "See Me Beautiful" (see Lesson Three). Have students sing and sign along. Talk about ways to see beauty in people and in the world around us (encourage creativity). Ask the question, "Is beauty something that you can only see with your eyes?"

  2. Show the cover of the book Miss Rumphius (see Bibliographical References). Tell the students that this is a story about aphilanthropist who madethe world more beautiful. She decided to share her time, talent, and treasure for the common good of her community. Tell students to listen for how and why she did this.Tell them they are going to choose somethingTHEY cando to make our world more beautiful.

  3. While you are reading, stop periodically to ask the students to describe Miss Rumphius. Write their descriptive words on the board (e.g. brave, creative, smart, selfless, etc.).

  4. After reading, discuss the following questions:

    • Why did Mrs. Rumphius want to do something to make the world more beautiful?
    • How did her grandfather inspire her?
    • How did Miss Rumphius share her time, talent and treasure for the common good? (She shared her time by planting her seeds, her talent of gardening, and her treasure of her seeds.) Discuss the definition of philanthropy (sharing time, talent, or treasure or taking action for the common good).
    • Has anyone ever inspired you? (such as brothers or sisterswho are good at sports)
    • What choice did Miss Rumphius have? Is choice important when you are a philanthropist?
    • Was Miss Rumphius selfish or selfless with her time, talent and treasures? Give some evidence for your answers.
    • How did she show commitment to her work of making the world more beautiful?
    • What could you do to make the world more beautiful? Remember to also think of beauty that you cannot see. Brainstorm ideas together and write them on the board or chart paper.
  5. Distribute either blank pages or paper with the sentence starter "I can __________________________ to make our world more beautiful." Have each student write a sentence orfill in the blank with something that he or she can do to makethe world more beautiful. The final copy should be neatly written and have correct spelling. Younger students may dictate their sentences.Students illustrate their writing using their best work.

  6. Collect all of their papers and put them into a class book.

  7. Show a picture of a piece of donated artwork. Explain to them that an artist actually shared his or her talent with the entire communityfor the common good of all people.
    Talk to the students about donating their class book to a community place. Have the students propose places to donate the completed class book (e.g. school or public library, hospital, nursing home, doctor or dentist office, day care, women's or homeless shelter, etc.).


Teacher observation of student participation during class discussion.
Student's finished page for the class book.

Cross Curriculum 

Students create a class book telling how they can make the world more beautiful. They make a group decision about where to put the book for others to read (e. g. school orpublic library, hospital, nursing home, doctor or dentist office, day care, women's or homeless shelter, etc.). In this way, they share thebookwith others in the larger community and hopefully inspire others to take action for the common good.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify why people practice philanthropy related to their own self-interest.
      3. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.

Academic Standards

Select categories to search for standards.

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