Gift of Art (The): Private Action for the Common Good (PAG)

9, 10, 11, 12

The students will review the concept of philanthropy through viewing a logo. They will design original logos that represent philanthropy and related ideas. They will explore philanthropic behavior as it relates to the arts.

PrintOne Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • evaluate their roles as volunteers.
  • define philanthropy.
  • design symbols related to philanthropy.
  • create a simple logo for a specific purpose.

Reflection plays a very important role in promoting student learning. The following suggested activities are ways to help students reflect on their learning after they have participated in a service event.  Choose one or more of the activities most appropriate to the service event and your students.

Have the students write down some of their thoughts and ideas about their involvement in this most recent service project.  Assign them to groups of three or four. Have each group listen to the thoughts and ideas of each of its members.  Using words and phrases representative of the individuals in the group, have each group create a rap, a poem, a song, or a skit that represents the combined thoughts and ideas of the group. Conclude the class with a performance of each composition and a brief discussion of what was learned as a result of these performances. (Note: Groups that perform their composition could be “rewarded/recognized” in some way. An “Oscar” Award could be given to the group whose performance receives the most votes from their classmates, and/or other categorical awards could be given etc.)

Review the service project with the students asking them to share their experiences: what they did, how they felt, and what impact they think they had. When everyone has had an opportunity to contribute to the discussion, share this scenario with the class: An Assistant Principal in another school district is experiencing some frustration over the lack of interest and involvement by the 9th graders in their service project.  We are being asked, as a class, having been 9th graders last year, if we would discuss what might be done to involve more 9th grade students in upcoming service projects.

Assign students to groups of three and give them a number to represent their group. Have them complete the following work sheet:
GROUP #__________

  1. Names of the students in our group
  2. The problem as we see it.
  3. Some solutions we have considered.
  4. The solution that we think might work best and why we think so.

Collect each group’s worksheet. Read these worksheets to the class indicating only the group number. As the students listen to each group’s recommendation/suggestion, have them rank (See Below) each group’s recommendation/suggestion based on how effective their recommendation/suggestion might be in motivating more 9th graders to be involved in a service project.


 Solution Ranking
No Way...It’s Possible ...This Will Work
Group 1   0        1       2        3        4        5   
Group 2   0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 3   0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 4
  0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 5
  0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 6
  0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 7
  0        1       2        3        4        5
Group 8  0        1       2        3        4        5

Tally the results and conclude this reflection with a brief discussion as to why the recommendations/suggestions receiving the most points might be a good way to motivate 9th graders to become involved in service projects.

Ask the students if they have ever seen the TV reality program entitled Extreme Makeover  (A show that features groups of architects, designers, carpenters, decorators and painters selecting a house, usually too small or run down for the families who live in them, and completely remodeling them into wonderful places in which to live. The families who live in these homes are away so that they do not see what is going on.  After a specified period of time, the work is completed and the owners return to their home to discover an almost unbelievable transformation.)  For those who have seen the show, encourage them to share something about the show that impresses them.  Talk about what might be the motivations of the people who work on these houses.  Discuss why companies might be willing to donate thousands of dollars of free equipment and building materials. Consider how someone might react returning to their “new” home and why. Discuss any similarities and differences between this TV show and what they were thinking, feeling and doing during this service project. Talk about the motivations they felt as they became involved; how they donated “dollars” (time equals money); and how they might feel if they were the recipients/benefactors of this service activity. Discuss how this event could become the next “reality show.”

Have students think about who, in their lives, has made the biggest impression on them so far.  Have them consider why they think this is so.  Encourage students to expand their thinking to consider whether this big impression was because of a one-time action or something that occurred over time and/or possibly is still occurring in their lives.  Challenge them to consider whether this “big impression” had more to do with time, talent, or treasure or a combination of these.  Ask them if this “big impression” came about as a result of something someone had done/is doing for them or did it have more to do with who that person is (personality and traits), or possibly a combination of both.  Open the discussion by asking the students to share some of the things they did during this service project. Have them consider the possibility that they too may have made a “big impression”. 

Conclude this reflection by giving students an option to:

  1. Write a letter to the person identified as the one who has made the biggest impression in their lives to date, thanking them for what they did/are doing for them.  (Note: Students may not feel comfortable sharing names, so names need not be included.)  Encourage students to consider the impact of their letter if they were to send them and challenge them to do so.
  2. Write a description of this service project and describe any ‘lasting impressions’ that it had on them as participants.

International Child Art Foundation. accessed 2.20.2012


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Begin this lesson by discussing that the theme of giving to others is of special interest in art. Let them know they’ve been asked to give something special of themselves through their art in this lesson.

  2. Draw the logo Handout One: PAG Logo Example on the board. Explain that in a logo each part represents something else. In this logo:

    • The “P” stands for two elements: private and public.
    • The “A” is for action.
    • The “G” is for good.
      • The phrase “Private Action for the Public or Common Good” is the basic definition of philanthropy. Further explain that philanthropy includes giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Sometimes philanthropy is defined for children as giving time, talent and treasure for the common good – the three T’s. It can be an individual or a volunteer group that gives. Ask students for examples of both private and group giving with which they are familiar.
  3. In the logo example:

    The “A” intersecting the “P” forms a tree, which represents our role as caretakers of the earth.

  4. The “G” is shaped like a ship to carry us through rough waters with the help of each other.

  5. The circle which surrounds the logo is unending, like the gifts we give each other that keep coming back.

Cross Curriculum 

Art from the heart: Celebrate students artistic talents and find a way to share these talents with others. Follow your students’ voices to find an organization or group of people who would appreciate a poem, greeting card, or homemade piece of art to brighten their day or let them know someone cares. This may be soldiers, veterans, elderly people in a retirement home, or a local child with a serious illness.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.4 Define and give an example of serial reciprocity.