Learning the Beat

K, 1, 2

The purpose of this lesson is to have students identify the shared gifts in the folktale, "The Drum" and determine their relative value. The students brainstorm gifts they have to give (time, talent, and treasure) and the value these gifts may have to others.

PrintOne 50-Minute Class Period or Two Shorter Periods

The learner will:

  • listen and respond to "The Drum" (folktale) learningtogive.org/resources/drum
  • identify the gifts given and received in the story and discuss the needs and motivations of the givers.
  • discuss the relative value of the gifts.
  • brainstorm gifts of time, talent, and treasure young people can share to address another's needs.
  • imitate a drumbeat pattern started by the teacher or another learner.
  • a collection of small pieces of wood and sticks (collect a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, finishes, uses, etc.)
  • chart paper
  • six sheets of large paper and markers
  • read-aloud copy of the folktale, "The Drum" (Hindi) www.learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/TheDrum.asp
  • six copies of Handout One: The Value of a Gift
  • Optional:a drum (hands work just fine)

Learning to Give Hindi folktale "The Drum" www.learningtogive.org/resources/drum


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Collect a variety of sticks and small pieces of wood from around the school grounds or home. Sit on the floor with the learners in a circle. Place the sticks in front of the learners for everyone to explore. Ask learners to describe the sticks and give ideas for what they could be used for and why they are in the room. List their ideas on chart paper. Have several learners describe the stick they think is the "best." (They may recognize the sticks are of all different values based on their size, bark, shape, appearance, usefulness, etc.)

  2. Collect the sticks from the students and make a pile in the front. Tell the students you are going to read a story to them about a stick. Ask them to try to imagine as you read what the stick in the story looks like and to listen for the gifts given throughout the story.

  3. Read aloud the folktale, "The Drum." Ask the students what they think the stick might have looked like and how the boy felt about the stick (they should give evidence from the story). Ask what they thought when the boy gave the stick away to be burned. Ask why they think the boy gave away the stick and what it tells them about the boy. Did he expect anything back from the woman?

  4. Have the students recall in order the gifts the boy gave. Discuss why they think the boy gave each of the items away. Discuss whether the boy could have used the items himself and whether he expected anything in return.

  5. As the students recall the gifts from the story in order, write them on large sheets of paper to hang up in order around the room (stick, bread, pot, coat, horse, drum).

  6. Put the learners in small groups by each gift item posted around the room. In their group they discuss the value of their assigned gift item from the story, using the questions in Handout One: Value of a Gift. For younger learners, have reading buddies or other volunteers facilitate the discussion. Independent readers may appoint one person from the group to read the questions and lead the group discussion. They may appoint one person from the group to tell the rest of the class what they discussed. After ten minutes, they should be ready to tell the rest of the class why people traded this item, and which item is more valuable.

  7. Bring the class together and listen to the group reports. Have the class discuss and come to consensus about the value of the items in order from least valuable to most valuable.The discussion may include comparing monetary value and value based on need. The item that is most valuable to the boy is the drum.

  8. Tell the learners that they have gifts of their own to share with others who might need them. These gifts may be in the form of time, talent,or treasure. Give examples of each: Time (spending time with someone who is lonely), Talent (teaching someone to skateboard), and Treasure (donating gently used clothes, books, and toys) and have the learners brainstorm gifts they have on a chart with the headings: Time, Talent, and Treasure.

  9. Tell the learners that one gift they have is the talent of hearing rhythm and understanding patterns. Tell them that you will drum a pattern on a drum or with your hands on your legs, and you want them to repeat the pattern with their hands on their legs. Drum different patterns with the students and enjoy the musical experience. Allow other students to take the leadership role of setting a pattern to copy.


Assessment based on teacher observation of participation in discussion and brainstorming.

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.