Can You Lend Me a Hand?
  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.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
      3. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.

Students will listen and respond to the story of The Little Red Hen. They identify personal actions that make a community stronger and better for all.

PrintOne 30 minute class period

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy and community.
  • identify examples of personal responsibility.
  • discuss how one's behavior affects others.
  • describe a benefit of group cooperation.
  • brainstorm ways to contribute in a community.
  • Book The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone 

Galdone, Paul. The Little Red Hen. New York,Seabury Press, 1973. ISBN: 0899193498

Sturges, Philemon. The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza). Dutton Books, 1999. ISBN: 0525459537

  1. Anticipatory Set: Choose three students to come to the front of the room and help you divide a bag of candy, a sheet of stickers, or another group of things to share the pieces evenly with the members of the class. As you are choosing helpers, whisper specific directions to them. (Student One: act greedy without touching the items; Student Two: act lazy about helping; Student Three: act very helpful). After they have worked together helping you, discuss with the helpers how they felt and the whole class how the different behaviors affected how well the task was done. Tell the students that are going to read a story about a hen who asks her friends to help her do some jobs. say, "Let's read to find out how their help affected the outcome."

  2. Read the book The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone to the class. As you read, stop and encourage the children to interact with the book in the following ways:

    • Identify text and key items in the pictures that support listening comprehension.
    • Discuss the motives of the characters and possible actions and attitudes of each.
  3. After reading the book, ask the learners to share what they think the word selfish means. Define the word selfish as being concerned with your own interests, needs, and wishes while ignoring those of others.

  4. Ask the students to identify who the community members were in the story. Have them identify characters in the book who were selfish about giving of their time and how that behavior affected the community.

  5. Read the book again and ask the learners to listen for behaviors or attitudes that the animals exhibit (rude, lazy, greedy, helpful, polite, apologetic, forgiving).

  6. Ask: Who in the story was willing to share their time, talent, and treasures with others. Discuss with the children how the job and outcome would be made easier when all of the characters contribute. Tell the learners that a big vocabulary word for a person who "shares their time, talent, or treasure for the good of others" is philanthropist. Philanthropists help others and their community. They are not selfish. They are the opposite of selfish, they are selfless because they think about what is good for the community and others and not just what they need.

  7. Ask the students whose responsibility in a community it is to share their time, talent, or treasures for the common good of the community. What responsibilities do the students have to the classroom community? What selfless behaviors could make the classroom a better place?

  8. Engage the students in a class discussion comparing the community in the story with the community of the classroom and the school.


The assessment for this lesson will be based on teacher observations of student participation.


Reflection solidifies student learning and helps them make further connections.

  • Have the students share what they know about quilts (they are warm, artistic, made out of pieces of materials sewn together into a blanket, sometimes shared by families over the years).
  • Give each student a half-sheet of blank paper as a quilt square. Tell the students that they will be working together to make a quilt that shows how the little things they do as individuals create the whole community.
  • Have each student draw a picture of a kind or selfless thing they can do as a class member or community member using crayons or markers.
  • When they have completed their drawings have them take turns showing their “quilt piece” and telling the class about their drawing and what they plan to do (or have already done) to help make a warm, caring community or classroom. Glue the pieces to a large background paper to make a large blanket of community warmth.
  • Display the finished blanket. Refer to the quilt over the rest of the school year to reflect on student actions for the community. Like some family quilts, this one may be passed on to next year's class as a story of a caring community. Ask the students how their “Caring Blanket” may make someone feel warm inside.