Hands Are for Helping

K, 1, 2

This lesson teaches responsible personal conduct and encourages students to share supplies and to work cooperatively together in the classroom while completing an art activity. This lesson may be taught at the very beginning of the school year. Explain that being in a classroom is different from being at home and that we will need to work together and help the classroom community become better -- for the good of all. 

Lesson Rating 
PrintThirty minutes

The learner will

  • practice sharing and working together in school. 
  • learn skills to make our classroom community more pleasant and productive.
  • Construction paper - one sheet per student
  • Pencils, crayons, markers
  • Scissors
  • White background paper - one for each student


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to think of some ways that they can use their hands for sharing. Ask them to think of what they know, have, and do to make a positive difference. Accept all reasonable responses and write them on the board. Read responses to the class.

  2. Review the characteristics of good listening skills and why they help build good relationships and community. Tell students that sharing is another skill that builds a caring classroom community.

  3. Explain the project that involves working together, sharing, and writing ways we can use our hands to help each other complete an artwork activity and build a caring community.

    • Students work in groups of two or three.
    • Students help one another in their group make outlines of their hands. Model the activity for the children by tracing around the hand of the child on the construction paper.
    • Students cut out the tracing of their own hand.

    • Students think of and write five ways they help others with what they know, have, or do. 

  4. Each student thinks of five ways -- one for each finger -- they can help others in the classroom. 

  5. They write one helpful act in each finger, or they dictate to the teacher or volunteer to write. They may look at the brainstormed list on the board.

  6. They glue the hand on a white background paper and illustrate the helpful/kind actions on the paper around the hand. 

  7. Talk about why these acts build a caring classroom. Encourage students to work together all year and support one another like they did in this activity and by doing the actions on the hands. What do they think will be the result of treating each other this way?

  8. Display the hands and artwork around the classroom. Refer to the kind actions regularly to build the habits of contributing to the community with positive things they have, know, and do. 


Teacher observes whether children were able to work cooperatively together to trace the hands. Teacher will ask students to tell ways that they have used their hands to help someone.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. 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 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.8 Describe classroom behaviors that help the students learn.