How About a Hand? (1st Grade)

K, 1, 2

Students will listen and respond to a story about a young girl who creates a special “rose garden.” Her boundless energy, giving spirit and continued optimism are infectious and help to unite her neighborhood in the spirit of giving and cooperation.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Thirty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • identify and describe the behaviors of the characters.
  • name the problem and the solution that was discovered in the story.
  • explain how we as individuals can give for the common good.
  • describe a benefit of group cooperation.
  • define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent or treasure intended for the common good.
  • Wanda’s Roses by Pat Brisson (see Bibliographical References)
  • Real or paper roses
Teacher Preparation 

It is important to be sensitive to the possibility that someone in your class may have some personal experience with homelessness, hunger and poverty.


Imitate the art from the book. Create a bulletin board with stems/sticks.  Have the children make paper roses for the bushes with words of giving and kindness printed on them.


Brisson, Pat.  Wanda’s Roses.  Boyd Mills Press. 1994: ISBN: 1-56397-925-X.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show the students a picture of a rose bush (see handout). Elicit guesses as to what kind of flower they think the bush will produce. Tell the students that you are going to read a story about a little girl named Wanda who grows a very special rose garden.

  2. Read the book to the class. Use a finger to run under the line being read and to point to key picture items.

  3. On selected pages, stop and encourage children to interact with the book in the following ways:

    • Identify key items in the pictures that will aid in listening comprehension (trash and debris in the beginning; compare and contrast the look of the lot at the beginning of the story and at the end).
    • Hypothesize about what might happen next, what the motives of the characters might be, and why something is happening.
    • Label the feelings of the characters.
    • Discuss why Wanda decided to care for the rose bush and make it her own and why she continued to nurture her rose bush even though people told her nothing was going to grow. (She wanted to see something grow; She did not want to give up.)
    • How did Wanda solve the problem of “real roses” not growing on the bush? (She made paper roses and attached them to the bush.)
    • In what ways did Wanda’s neighbors help with the empty lot? Why do you think they helped? (They helped clean up the lot.)
    • How did Wanda’s and her neighbors’ efforts change the lot/neighborhood? (Together they created a beautiful rose garden.)
    • Do you think Wanda would have succeeded without help? (Accept all reasonable answers, but guide the students to the idea that working together was important in turning the lot into a “rose garden”.)
  4. Define common good. Ask students to define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good. Ask whether Wanda and her neighbors were philanthropists, and challenge the students to give examples of how they as individuals can give for the common good. Brainstorm some ways they can give.


Note and record as appropriate how children: discuss and label the feelings of the characters. take part in the brainstorming session.

Cross Curriculum 

Students look for ways to beautify the school and community to improve attitudes and ownership.

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. 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.
  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.6 Make a connection between fundamental democratic principles and philanthropy.