Observing First Impressions
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Discuss the role of family life in shaping a democratic society.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and discuss the interaction of families, business, government, and the civil society sector in a democratic society.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Analyze philanthropic traditions of diverse cultural groups and their contributions to civil society.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.

One of our roles in a civil society is connecting to diverse others and seeing their light within. In this lesson, learners watch a video and listen to an audio recording that both show how we can overcome first impressions about people and value the diversity of their experiences and culture. 

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define culture as "the shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize a group."
  • identify positive characteristics of their family related to culture.
  • index cards - 3 per learner
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Watch the video of Matt Harding dancing badly around the world and reflect with the learners about what the dancer is doing. 

  2. Put the following quote on the board: "We are good at picking out people who are different from us. Our instincts tell us they are a threat." (Matt Harding) Discuss with the students whether in their own experience they think this is accurate. Matt Harding states that at one time this was a survival instinct, but today, we have to deliberately override this instinct in order to connect with people. Discuss the benefits and dangers of seeing difference as a threat.

  3. Each of us has unique attributes that make us who we are and come from how we look, our experiences, and our culture. Define culture as "the shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize a group." We gain our identity from our traditional culture (race, ethnicity, religion, heritage, family) and popular culture (technology, generational differences, social networking, media, and physical surroundings).

    Brainstorm a list of traits that make up our individual identities (interests, hobbies, family relationships, culture, foods we eat, language, how we dress, what we do well, skin and hair color, body size, age ...).

  4. Say, "When we look at all the factors that influence us, it is easy to see why we have so many differences from each other." Discuss how respecting personal differences honors the experiences, culture, and heritage of different people. Discuss why respecting cultural differences is important in our community and world.

  5. Give each learner three or four index cards. They write one per card their unique and positive traits/beliefs/traditions about themselves that they feel are directly related to their cultural heritage (race, religion, family values, ethnic heritage). They write each trait neatly in a sentence on an index card but put no name on the card. (e.g., My family eats dinner together each night so we can talk. I visit my grandparents in Bosnia each summer. We light candles on our holy days.)

  6. Display all of the index cards in a common area where they can read one another's responses. Give them time to walk around and read the cards respectfully, looking for similarities and differences.


    • In what ways are diversity and uniqueness a strength and benefit to our society?
    • In what ways are we similar?
  7. Play an audio clip from a radio show called "This I Believe." In this episode, they will hear from Matt Harding who created a video of himself dancing with people around the world. Tell them to listen for the main idea of the broadcast - What does Matt Harding believe?

  8. Discuss Matt's idea that people want to feel connected.

    • What does it mean to feel connected? Disconnected?
    • How is this related to respecting cultural differences?
    • What is the best way to respond when we see someone who seems different?
  9. Ask whether they think Matt Harding is taking action to make the world a better place (philanthropy). Discuss ways his video makes (or could make) the world a better place.