Without a Home

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords & Concepts: 

Learners discuss the word homeless and how it is used in a sentence (as adjective and noun). After reading an article about homelessness by Anna Quindlen, they discuss a respectful way to use the language that describes a group of people who are vulnerable.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • read and respond to an essay about homelessness by Anna Quindlen.
  • reflect on how our use of language can show respect for people.
  • Learner copies of Anna Quindlen's "Homeless" article: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://gavinadair.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/homeless.pdf
  • homelessness: condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford, do not desire, or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."
  • service: contribution to the welfare of others
  • philanthropy: giving time, talent and/or treasure and taking action for the common good

Exit ticket: Write a paragraph explaining your rational for which terminology is more respectful: "a person who is homeless" or "a homeless person"?



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Discuss what part of speech the word "homeless" is (noun, verb, adjective) and have them support their choice. Listen to a few answers and discuss and compare. It isn’t necessary to come to a consensus as some will think it is an adjective and some will think it is a noun, and both answers can be correct. Tell them that the essay they are about to read will provide a perspective on this word.

  2. Distribute copies of "Homelessness" by Anna Quindlen (See Materials above). They read the essay silently or aloud in small groups.

  3. Discuss:

    • Why might using the word homeless as a noun be insensitive or keep us from action?
    • What is a respectful way to react when we see a person who is homeless? (Ignore? Judge? Be friendly?) Why?
    • What might be some appropriate acts? (Give money? Share food? Donate money or resources to a shelter?)
    • In what way can we show respect for people who are vulnerable?
    • What other groups have we marginalized into nouns or issues rather than people?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.