What Is Your Thing?

6, 7, 8

Students reflect in writing about how they can use their personal resources and interests to make a difference in somone's life.

PrintOne 20-minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify personal interests and talents.
  • choose an issue area that is important to him or her.
  • reflect in writing about how he or she can take action in a courageous way to make a difference in someone's life.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Remind the students of the Mariah Carey song from Lesson Three. The last words of the chorus repeat, "And you'll finally see the truth, That a hero lies in you." Tell the students that today you want them to reflect on how they can be "heroes" by taking action for the common good or for the sake of another.

  2. Say,"Each of us may feel strongly about different issues that we discussed in the previous lesson (environment, health, community, etc.).And we all have different talents, interests, and resources to share. Today I want you to reflect on putting these together to propose something you could do to make a difference in somebody's life." (See writing prompt below.)

  3. Have students write a journal reflection about how, who, or what they personally have the courage to be hero for or about (causes, beliefs, people, etc.).

  4. Examples: a student who is good at computers who is concerned about unemployed people in the community may propose helping people with computer skills at the library. A person who loves to cook and is concerned about people with a health issue may volunteer to prepare meals for families who are affected by illness.

  5. Writing prompt: have students create a brainstorming mind-map for generating ideas. The central brainstorming categories are 1) my interests and hobbies/what I'm good at; 2) issues that are important to me; and (optional) 3) who I'd like to work with.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. 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.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      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.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.