Giving Cheer (Kindergarten)

K, 1, 2

The students learn about giving and sharing through the literature book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. They show caring by creating "Spread the Cheer" cards of appreciation and/or cheer. They brainstorm and choose a group to receive their cards.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 30 minute class period

The learner will:

  • define service.
  • listen to and discuss literature about service and sharing.
  • discuss vocabulary words in context.
  • create greeting cards of appreciation and/or cheer.
  • decide on a recipient for their service.
  • read aloud copy of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • colored construction paper
  • markers, crayons
  • letter stencils (optional)
Teacher Preparation 

This lesson is intended to be used after Lesson One: Big Words.


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

appreciate: to recognize and like the qualities in somebody or something

 Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree. Harper Collins, 1964. ISBN-13: 978-0060256654


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Say these words to the class: segregation, philanthropy, conservation, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Ask: What kinds of words are these? (big words) Remind them of the story of Martin's Big Words and their discussion about caring and sharing from the previous lesson. Tell the students that today they are going to learn more about caring, giving time, talent and treasure, and other important words.

  2. Show the class the book The Giving Tree and read the title. Ask if there are some things they can think of that trees give us (shade, beautifully colored fall leaves, acorns, wood, apples, etc.). Tell the students that in this fiction book, a tree has other gifts to give.

  3. Read the book to the class. Elicit student respose to the story by asking: In what ways did the boy help the tree? In what ways did the tree help the boy? Notice each time that the tree gave to the boy, it became happy. Why? How do you feel when you do something kind or helpful? Can you tell about a time you felt happy after giving your time, talent, or treasure? Why is it important to give and share?

  4. Invite the students to put these concepts into practice by doing a service project. Suggest that they can make greeting cards that they will donate (give) to individuals to show appreciation and/or kindness.

  5. Brainstorm with the students individuals to whom they might give the cards. For example, they may choose to give their cards to family members, or people such as the school's cafeteria workers, police officers, senior citizens, children in hospitals, or those serving in the armed forces. Come to consensus as a class on the recipients of the cards.

  6. Brainstorm and write in a display area words or phrases that are appropriate to the recipients and that will convey appreciation and/or cheer. For example: "Bringing Sunshine Your Way!" or "I Appreciate You!" or "You Make Me Smile!"

  7. Distribute one piece of construction paper to each student. Ask them to fold the card in half evenly.

  8. Next, allow students to use markers, crayons, or colored pencils to decorate their cards (for neatness, students may wish to use their pencils to draw first, then markers to color it in).

  9. On the front of the card, students should write a happy message that lets the person know that they hope the card brings them happiness or that they are appreciated.

  10. After the students have completed their cards, donate them to the chosen recipients.

  11. Ask the students if they acted as philanthropists during their card service project. Did they give of their time, talent, and/or treasure? How did they feel making the cards and donating them? Do they think the card project made a difference? If so, what difference?

Cross Curriculum 

The students make Spread the Cheer greeting cards that show others that they are appreciated and/or spread a positive mesage. They brainstorm and decide on individuals to whom they can give the cards. For example, they may choose to give their cards to family members, the school's cafeteria workers, police officers, senior citizens, children in hospitals, or those servingin thearmed forces.

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. 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.
  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.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.