Book Builders - Elementary
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.

In an effort to strengthen community, students draft and share a book about a character traits. Students learn the importance of community by evaluating the traits required to make a community healthy and functional. Students will publish their completed books and share their works with others.

PrintOne class period, plus time for a project

Students will be able to:

  • see themselves as having responsibility in a community context.
  • identify character traits and examples of them in their world.
  • evaluate the roles of character traits in making communities healthy and functional.
  • create an original picture book to teach others the importance of a particular character trait.
  • take generous action that applies what they learned.
  • paper for pages of class book(s)
  • crayons, colored pencils, markers.
  • student copies of the “Ten Character Traits” handout
  • student copies of the “Act of Character” handout
Home Connection: 

As a family, make a list of words that describe a special family member (grandparent) or family friend. Talk about which descriptive words are character traits. 

  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to think about a favorite person and picture themselves with that person. Tell them to think about words that describe that person, why they like the person. Then have students turn to a partner and describe what that person is like. 

    When you think of why you love a grandparent, for example, you don't think about how much money they make or what they do for a job, you think about their character traits like caring, generosity, and honesty. You think about how they make you feel when you are with them.

    Ask a few students to name those character traits while you list them on the board.

    These are the qualities of people that add to the good in the world. These character traits help them connect meaningfully with others. We can learn and practice these traits ourselves. 

    Disuss why individuals practicing these traits makes a better community. 

  2. Give each student a copy of the handout (below) Ten Character Traits. Discuss each one and ask the students to give verbal examples of the traits in action. For example, Amir showed generosity when he shared a pencil with Nadia because her tip broke during a test. Discuss how Nadia felt and how this impacted the whole classroom climate. 

    Note: for primary students, these traits can be taught and practiced over a few weeks. 

  3. Discuss what the classroom, school, or community would be like if everybody practiced these traits. Tell the students that are going to create picture books that teach these traits. They will donate the books so others can learn about positive character traits for the good of all. 

  4. Allow the students to choose which character trait(s) they want to define, illustrate, and write about. Depending on time and their age and ability, you may have them work on one or several traits or even several examples of one trait. They will need time for thinking, drafting, writing, and sketching before making final pages for a book. 

    Variation: they may each write and publish a complete book with a story about a person making the community better with their living out these character traits. 

  5. Bring the pages together into a "published" book. If there are several pages about each trait, you may make more than one book. Write an introduction for the book through a shared writing process. The introduction defines character traits and talks about the purpose of teaching the traits to build a better school or community. 

  6. Talk about where the books can be donated to have an impact. Follow through on the class decision by delivering the books, ideally having students contact the place(s) where the books will be available. 


Students demonstrate their understanding of the character traits by practicing them in the classroom and at home. At the end of each day, reflect on what character traits they observed others using, how it made them feel, how it impacted the classroom climate, and what trait they want to use next. Use the Act of Character handout for student self-reflection.