Kids' Kompany

K, 1, 2

The students explore different ways to earn and use money through a variety of children’s books. They also see that money gives decision-making power.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learners will:

  • discuss different ways to earn money.
  • list different uses for money (spend, save, donate, earn).
  • identify choices that having money allows us.
  • draw a picture of something that could benefit the common good.
  • explain that money earned can be used to purchase things for the common good.
  • differentiate between self-interest and philanthropy.
  • give examples of how a philanthropist gives time, talent or treasure for the common good.
  • Children’s books about earning, spending and making choices about money. Some suggestions are included in the Bibliographical References below.
  • Chart paper and marker
  • Construction paper, one piece per student
  • Crayons or markers, one set per student
Home Connection 

Give students the assignment of asking their families to help them name companies that earn money and use some of their money selflessly to meet a need in the community —for the common good.

  • Fuller, Matthew. Smart Little Saver. Matthew Fuller. ISBN: 0967584906
  • Halperin, Wendy Anderson. Once Upon a Company: A True Story. New York: Orchard Books, 1998. ISBN: 0-531-33089-3 (Out of print, but available at some libraries)
  • Lewis, E. B. My Rows and Piles of Coins. Clarion Books, 1999. ISBN: 039571861
  • Murphy, Stuart J. Lemonade for Sale. Scott Foresman, 1998. ISBN:0064467155
  • Murphy, Stuart J. The Penny Pot. Harper Trophy, 1998. ISBN:0064467171


  1. Anticipatory Set:Start the class by saying, “Raise your hand if you like to get money.” Ask the students how they get money. Encourage them to think of all the sources of their personal money: allowance, selling items at a garage sale, gifts, etc. Ask if they have any ideas for making money. It is not necessary to write these ideas down—just a quick brainstorm. Tell them that they are going to set a goal for earning money in a class project this month.

  2. Ask the students to name some things they could spend their money on if they earned some money as a class. Write down their ideas. When they have a significant list, use a code to mark their choices. For example, star the items that benefit the entire class and underline all the choices that help fulfill a need in the community or entire school. Ask the students to look at the unmarked items. Do they have something in common? Are they just for the self- interest of a few students rather than for the common good? Ask the students to define the difference between selfless and selfish. Are the unmarked items selfish?

  3. Read two or three stories from the Bibliographical References. Talk about the choices that the characters make with their money. As you read, keep a list of ways they use their money. The list can be grouped into major categories such as spend immediately, save for larger purchase, and give for the common good.

  4. Teach the class that when people use their money to help others, they are philanthropists. A philanthropist is someone who gives time, talent or treasure for the common good. (Note to teachers: Review the concepts of time, talent, treasure or common good, if necessary. If there is a company in your community that is known for its philanthropy, discuss this with your students.)

  5. Look again at the list generated in the first Instructional Procedure above. Ask the students to choose their personal favorite thing to purchase from their list (or add to it) that will benefit the whole class, the whole school or the community. “If we had some money and wanted to be philanthropists, what do you think we should purchase for our school (or neighborhood or community)?”

  6. ​Tell each student to draw a picture/poster of that favorite thing that would benefit people at the school or in the community. By drawing the picture they are “casting a vote” so their picture should be attractive and persuasive. It may include labels and text as fits their ability.

  7. After ten minutes of drawing, ask the students to talk about their pictures with partners or in small groups. Save the pictures for the next lesson and then hang the pictures in the room for a few days.


Teacher observation of student participation in the class discussion and drawing assignment. Optional: Use the rubric for posters found at

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. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.3 Name a corporation or business that has contributed money for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Describe the concept of saving for the future.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.