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:

  • respond to the text/others.
  • 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.
  • sort and graph any trash objects brought in.
  • Decoration that brightens the room (see Anticipatory Set)
  • Read-aloud copy of the book Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth (See Bibliographical References)
  • Picture/story paper (one sheet per student)
  • Crayons and pencils
  • Song See Me Beautiful from the Audio CD Teaching Peace by Red Grammer (see Bibliographical References)

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 classroom to make it beautiful (a bouquet of flowers, a bunch of balloons, or large paper flowers hung around the room)--something that makes students say "Wow!"Allow time for the students to react. Remind the students about how they felt when the trash was all over their classroom (Lesson One).

  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 themain 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? (Remind the students that being a philanthropistmeans giving ofyour 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? (Remind the students that performing philanthropic acts has benefits for the giver and receiver.)
    5. How can/did the girl's actions bring about change in that community? (Remind students that 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 their 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. Students illustrate their own "something beautiful" and write a sentence describing their "something beautiful."

  6. While students are working on their journal reflections, play the song "See Me Beautiful" by Red Grammer (See Bibliographical References). Talk about the lyrics and how they relate to the story.

  7. Upon completion of journal reflections, teacher will divide students into pairs or small groups to present and share their illustrations and written reflections with group members.


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.