Animals Matter

K, 1, 2

A read aloud story demonstrates caring and philanthropy related to environmental stewardship and animal welfare.


PrintOne 45 Minute Session

define service and brainstorm things kids can do


read aloud copy of A Symphony of Whales by Steven Schuch

  • service: to provide a community or organization with something that it needs
  • donate: to give or present something, especially to a charitable organization or other good cause
  • gift: something that you give without the expectation of receiving something in return

Schuch, Steven. A Symphony of Whales. Sandpiper, 2002. 978-0152165482


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the word "beluga" on a display board, say the word, and ask the young people to repeat it. Ask: Does any one know what a "beluga" is? Some facts: also known as a white whale because of its white color, lives in the Arctic Ocean (show on a map), sometimes called a Sea Canary Whale because of its high-pitched song, grows up to 16 feet long, in some areas they are considered endangered.

  2. Write the word endangered on a display board. Animals are considered endangered when a species is in danger of dying out. This usually happens when their environment changes and they are not able to get the basic things they need to stay alive -- food, clean water, and a clean habitat (place to live). In some places, beluga whales are in danger of dying because people have changed their habitats.

  3. Before reading the book called A Symphony of Whales, which is based on something that really happened, show the cover of the book and ask if they know what a symphony is. Explain that it is a kind of musical piece. Ask them to think about why the author used this title as they listen to the story.

  4. During and after the reading, ask the following questions:

    • What did Glashka hear inside her head?
    • How was the sea important to the people in Glashka's village?
    • How did the people decide to help the whales? What was the outcome?
    • In what ways have you helped animals or others?
    • Why is it important to help animals or others?
  5. Now inspire the group to practice giving and sharing that involves animals. Tell them that service can include giving their time or treasure to help the community. In this case, the community is the natural world, and we all share responsibility for caretaking.

  6. Braintorm things we can do as young people to take action for whales or other animals who need caretaking.

    • Direct action: clean up pollution that affects animals' homes
    • Indirect action: raise money to give to a nonprofit organization that helps whales
    • Advocacy: teach other people about the issue or about ways to protect animals
  7. Reflection is a key component of service-learning that adds meaning to the experience. Discuss with students why doing this project was important.

Cross Curriculum 
  • Decorate pet bandanas with words or designs. They decide on an animal shelter to which they donate the bandanas.
  • Create a book of poetry and photographs about animals in the shelter where they donated the pet bandanas.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. 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. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify the similarities in philanthropic behavior among people of different cultural backgrounds.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.