Do Something Beautiful

K, 1, 2

Students recognize an act of philanthropy in literature and discuss the elements of acts of philanthropy.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy as giving of time, talent and treasure for the common good.
  • recognize that philanthropic acts are voluntary.
  • write a journal entry relating the story to their own lives.
  • create something beautiful as an act of philanthropy.
  • Decoration that brightens the room 
  • Read-aloud copy of the book Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth (See Bibliography)
  • Song See Me Beautiful from the Audio CD Teaching Peace by Red Grammer (see Bibliography)

Grammer, Red. Teaching Peace. Australia: Red Note Records, 1986. Audio CD. ASIN: B000009NGF

Wyeth, Sharon Dennis. Something Beautiful. New York: Dragonfly Books, 2002. ISBN: 0440412102


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Put something in the room to make it beautiful (a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of balloons, or large paper flowers hung around the room)--something that makes a "Wow!" impression. Discuss how beauty makes us feel. 

  2. Show the students the cover of Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. Tell them to think to themselves about what they think is beautiful. Read aloud the story, stopping periodically to reflect on the main character's feelings throughout the story. After the story, ask the students to describe "something beautiful" from their point of view.

  3. Discuss the book, using the following questions to guide the discussion.

    1. Did the girl in the story have a choice about how she could make something beautiful? (Being a philanthropist means giving of your time, talent and treasure VOLUNTARILY for the common good)
    2. Why did the girl clean up the neighborhood?
    3. Did the girl perform an act of philanthropy? What makes it philanthropy?
    4. Did the girl benefit from her actions? (Performing philanthropic acts has benefits for the giver and receiver.)
    5. How can/did the girl's actions bring about change in that community? (Giving time, talent and treasure can inspire others to do the same.)
    6. Ask the students their thoughts on thefocus question: "Does every philanthropic act play a part in making our world more beautiful?"
    7. What things can we do to create something beautiful in our own community? (Write down ideas for future reference.)
  4. Define stewardship as the responsible management of something that is in your care. Discuss how the girl in the story is a steward for her neighborhood.

  5. Assign a journal-writing activity to illustrate their own "something beautiful" and write a sentence describing their "something beautiful."

  6. Play the song "See Me Beautiful" by Red Grammer (on YouTube). Talk about the lyrics and how they relate to the story.

  7. Upon completion of journal reflections, share their illustrations and written reflections with others and discuss what we can do together to make a difference by sharing something beautiful.


Teacher observation of student participation during dialogue and discussion

Student reflection in the form of illustration and written journal pages

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. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.9 Describe how philanthropic activities can bring about social change.
  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.3 Define stewardship and give examples.
      4. 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.