Reduce and RESPECT!

K, 1, 2

The purpose of this unit is to learn the term “reduce” as it pertains to trash and the environment. They will do this by hearing the story, The Wartville Wizard.  Learners will brainstorm ways that they can reduce trash and why it is important.  They will also review what the term philanthropist means (someone who gives of their “time, talents or treasures for the common good”) and link this term to their study of trash reduction and conservation.

PrintOne forty-five minute period

The learner will:

  • review the term “respect”.understand the concept of reducing trash.
  • define the word “reduce”.
  • brainstorm ways to reduce trash in their schools and homes.
  • review the term philanthropist and how it relates to this topic of reducing trash.
  • Book: The Wartville Wizard by Don Madden
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Handful of pieces of candy
  • Learning journals with at least four pages (one for each of the “Four R’s”: reduce, reuse, recycle, respect) with room to both write and draw
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:See Handout One, Lesson One: Family Letter and Handout Two, Lesson One: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE Worksheet

  • Madden, Don.  The Wartville Wizard.  Simon & Schuster:  New York, 1986.ISBN:  0689716672
  • Fritz, Tracey.  Philanthropist Song/Chant. From the K-2 Learning to Give Unit: Let’s Make Lemonade found at /units/lets-make-lemonade



  1. Anticipatory Set:To introduce the concept of “reduce”, put out a pile of candy and ask the learners: “Does anyone know what the word reduce means? (Take volunteers.) Yes, reduce means to make something less or smaller. So, if that’s the case, how can I reduce this candy?” Hopefully students will give you the answer “eat some” or “give them to us!” Tell them that today we will be studying ways that we can reducetrash.

  2. Show the learners the book cover of The Wartville Wizard and ask them to predict what they think the story will be about. Discuss title, author and illustrator. Discuss the wizard’s facial expression and have the students predict why they think he looks so angry.

  3. Read the story, The Wartville Wizard stopping periodically to check for comprehension and to review any unknown vocabulary words.

  4. At the end of the story ask learners the question: “Why do you think it is important to reduce trash?” Have the students do a “think-pair-share” Teacher Note: Think-pair-share is a cooperative learning teaching strategy that allows the learners to work together in pairs to share what the learners know.

  5. Have the pairs share their answers and discuss.

  6. Teach the term philanthropist by asking learners, “Does anyone know what a philanthropist is?” Sing them the song/chant: (Sung to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?”)

  7. Teacher:What is a philanthropist? Learners:(Learners echo what the teacher says)What is a philanthropist?What is a philanthropist? Teacher:Do you want to know?Learners: Yes, we want to know! Teacher: It’s giving of your time, your talents and your treasures, for the common good! Students: For the common good!

  8. Ask the learners if there was a philanthropist in the story (the wizard). Tell the learners that philanthropists can be anyone: old or young, man or woman or child, rich or poor or even grumpy or happy! He was using his time (to pick up the litter) to help make the city cleaner (common good).

  9. Inform the learners that our landfills are filling up (you may have to tell them what a landfill is and how they get full)! If you have access to a computer or trade book, show them pictures of landfills. Every American creates an average of 4.5 pounds (1.7 meters) oftrash per day!

  10. Tell the learners that we want to be philanthropists and help clean our planet! Discuss together what we can do to reduce trash. How can we make less trash? Help them get started by giving them some ideas: don’t take a bag at the grocery store, don’t take a napkin with your snack (especially if it’s not messy). Keep track of the ideas on chart paper under the title: REDUCE. Display the chart paper in the classroom where you can refer to it as a reminder to reduce trash.

  11. Have learners write in their journal about how they can reduce trash. Tell them that it should be something that they that they can do right away. Ask them to draw a picture of it in their journals.

  12. Show learners the worksheet (see Handout Two) and tell them they have a homework assignment tonight. Review the homework for day one with them.

  13. Review the Philanthropy Chant and encourage them to be philanthropists by reducing trash and respecting our Earth!


The assessment for this lesson will be teacher observation of participation in the classroom discussions and brainstorming sessions. Also, credit/no credit should be given on the journal page and the homework assignment.

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.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 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.