Your Land, My Land
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.

Introduce the folksinger, Woody Guthrie, and his legendary song This Land Is Your Land. Talk about ways we are generous for the good of others. This can be by lifting someone's spirits or taking care of the land we all share. 

PrintOne 45-Minute Session
  • define the vocabulary of the song This Land Is Your Land.
  • The book This Land is Your Land (see Bibliographic References)
  • Recording of This Land Is Your Land (see Bibliographic References)

Notes to the Teacher:The pages in the book This Land Is Your Land are not numbered. I've tried to explain the location of the page being used by citing the first line and/or describing the pictures. The lesson is easily adaptable to kindergarten. Just trim out the information that is over the students' heads. Second grade, on the other hand, could extend the lesson. I've noted possible second grade extensions at the end of the lesson and in the Assessment portion of the lesson.

  • Guthrie, Woody and Arlo Guthrie. This Land Is Your Land. Rounder Kids C8050. Rounder Records Corp., 1997.
  • Guthrie, Woody and Kathy Jakobsen. This Land Is Your Land. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Before playing a recording of the song "This Land Is Your Land," tell listeners that the repeated words, "This land was made for you and me," remind us that we all share this country and we all take care of it for the good of all. Tell youth to listen for places and descriptions of places across the U.S. and be ready to name them after listening. Play the song and show the pictures from the book. 

  2. Refer to the book's second to the last page in This Land Is Your Land that begins with "Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912." Paraphrase the two pages about Woody's life.

    Tell youth that Woody Guthrie wrote songs for everyone. He wrote songs to lift the spirits of people who were having a hard life. Why is that a generous thing to do?

  3. Talk about ways we take care of the environment and each other. Ask the youth to reflect on what they do or can do to make a difference to lift someone's spirits or take care of nature. 

  4. Read the book This Land Is Your Land.

    Check for understanding of the following vocabulary:

    • valley - a long, narrow, low land between mountains.
    • desert - a dry, often sandy area with little rain and few plants.
    • merchant marines - ships that are owned by the country and take supplies to people in war time.
    • migrant - a worker who travels from one place to another in search of work.
    • No Trespassing - do not enter.
    • steeple - a tall tower on the roof of a church.
    • relief office - a place where people go to get help: clothing, food, a place to stay.
  5. Extension: Print out the words to the song on chart paper. Read verses and highlight vocabulary and/or rhyming words.