One Small Act

6, 7, 8

Learners get inspiration from the work and words of Mother Teresa about performing small acts of kindness. They select a project and make a plan for carrying out a small act of kindness with a group or individually.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • brainstorm ideas for acts of caring.
  • select their favorite ideas from the brainstormed list.
  • work in groups to make a plan for carrying out an act of kindness and caring.
  • Each student needs the completed bookmark homework from Lesson Two.
  • chart paper
  • small self-sticking notes
  • one copy of Handout One: Ideas for Acts of Kindness


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students to raise their hands if they feel Mother Teresa's example of performing small acts of kindness can be a good model in our community. Have the students stand on a continuum that you describe (an imaginary line on the floor) from "makes no difference" to "changes the world." Students stand on the continuum to illustrate how much difference they believe their class's acts of kindness can make in the world. Discuss how small acts can make a difference.

  2. Remind the students that their homework from the second lesson was to talk to their families about ideas for acts of kindness. Ask the students to refer to their "Random Acts of Kindness" bookmarks for ideas. Brainstorm with the class on chart paper a list of ideas for acts of kindness. See Handout One: Ideas for Acts of Kindness for further ideas.

  3. Give each learner three or four small self-sticking notes. They write their initials on the self-sticking notes and then place them on three or four of their favorite ideas from the brainstorming session

  4. After all the learners have selected their favorite ideas, look for the six to ten "acts of kindness" with the most self-sticking notes on them. Tell the students that these are the ideas they are going to carry out before they meet again.

  5. Have the learners meet in groups as you assign the six to ten"acts of kindness" from the chart to the groups--one act per team. Not all learners will get their first choice, but the groups do not need to have even numbers. The groups make a plan for how to carry out their selected act. They discuss steps and responsibilities and determine any supplies or permissions needed. The acts of kindness may be performed individually or in groups.

  6. Give the learners a deadline for their projects. Tell them when they meet next class period, they will reflect on the outcomes and impact of their acts of caring for others.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.