BEE a Part of Our Community

K, 1, 2

Students reflect on the importance of being respectful and feeling respected in the classroom community and through involvement in the larger community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • create a "community web" by using respectful, positive, uplifting comments.
  • identify how the break down of the "web" can happen through negative comments.
  • reflect upon feelings through class discussion.
  • Book - Buzzy the Bumblebee by Denise Brennan-Nelson
  • Ball of yarn
  • Two poster boards, markers (prepare one poster in advance of lesson)

Brennan-Nelson, Denise. Buzzy the Bumblebee. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2003. ISBN: 1886947821


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    In advance, prepare a poster listing desirable community characteristics, or "BEE-haviors:" BEE honest, BEE friendly, BEE respectful, BEE responsible, BEE caring, BEE helpful, etc. Decorate the poster with bees and flowers (similar to style in the book Buzzy the Bumblebee). Read the poster with the class. (Make sure they recognize the fun spelling of be.) Discuss the meaning of these words. Listen to their ideas about what these words mean and guide them to recognize that these are behaviors that make a pleasant community.

  2. Refer to the list of "BEE-haviors" and the definition of philanthropy (giving or sharing time, talent or treasure for the common good). Ask the students to think of specific things they can do with these two concepts that do not require permission of the teacher. Write their ideas on a poster board (invite a new friend to play, share a pencil, let someone go ahead of you in line, etc.).

  3. Remind the students about "buzz talk" from Lesson One: What’s All the Buzz About? Buzz talk hurts feelings. The BEE-haviors on the poster promote good feelings. Tell the class that they are going to share some kind words to build a class web of support for each other. These words will help make the classroom community stronger.

  4. Tell the students that they will pass a ball of yarn back and forth across and around a circle until each member of the class is holding a piece of the yarn. As they pass the yarn on to someone, they say something kind, helpful, encouraging, caring or respectful to that person. When each person is holding a piece of the yarn, they will have a strong web linking them together into a community.

  5. All members of the class sit in a circle. The teacher starts with the ball of yarn. The teacher says an encouraging comment to a student and throws the ball of yarn to him/her, but the teacher holds onto the end piece of the yarn. The student that receives the yarn ball then says another encouraging comment to yet another student that has not received the yarn ball. Whoever has the yarn ball MUST ALWAYS HOLD ONTO A PIECE BEFORE TOSSING TO SOMEONE ELSE.

  6. The comments should incorporate the new "BEE-haviors". This is a self-esteem building activity for the students. While building community with positive comments, students see reasons to "BEE-lieve" in themselves and each other.

  7. Once the "web" is built, discuss the strength of the community "web" with some of the following questions:

  8. -How did you feel when you were encouraged?

    -How do positive BEE-haviors make a community better?

    -How did you feel when you helped the community?

    -When someone is kind to you, do you want to pass that kindness on to others?

    -What happens to the community when someone says a negative comment?

  9. Tell the students that someone just told you that you were too slow to be on the soccer team. Hang your head and drop your yarn.

  10. When you drop your yarn, others will feel the yarn go slack. Tell the students to drop their piece of yarn if their yarn feels less tight. As some students drop the yarn, others will feel the weakness in the web. Tell them to continue dropping in turn until the web is lying on the ground in front of the class.

  11. Discuss what happens to the community when negative comments are used. Just as kind words encourage people to be kind to others, unkindness is passed around and breaks community bonds of support.

  12. Summarize the lesson by stating that a strong community is built on positive BEE-haviors passed around and around. For more sophisticated learners, you may introduce the concept of community capital: when you invest positive behaviors into the community, others are likely to pay them back with further kindnesses.

  13. Sing the "Buzzy the Bumblebee" song (from Lesson One: What’s All the Buzz About?).


Assess students through observation of participation by students.

Cross Curriculum 

Read about the service-learning project called Morris Community Sensory Path by Morris Grade School students who were taught using this BEE a Part of Our Community  lesson to guide student learning and action.

Ms. Kaminski and Ms. Geiss are instructional coaches at Morris Grade School in Illinois who believe: “Students need a constant reminder on being kind and giving back to others. By teaching students service and giving, hopefully will help make the world a better place.”

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.3 Identify ways that trust is important in all communities.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.13 Offer examples of community/social capital in school.