Just-Us and Kindness: A Voice for Children (8th Grade)

6, 7, 8

Students will examine violation of children’s rights through the use of compelling literature. In addition, students will also reflect on examples of human kindness and collective action for the common good (philanthropy).


PrintOne 45 minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify the correlation between rights of children and examples of violations.
  • identify examples of kindness and philanthropic action.
  • describe the importance of respecting all voices in a community.
  • describe the importance of collective action to advance minority viewpoints.
  • identify examples of resources shared and actions taken for the common good.
  • A Haitian Story of Hope: Selavi by Youme
  • Handout One: Simplified Universal Declaration of Human Rights (overhead)
  • Student copies of Handout Two: Human Rights and Violations
  • Student copies of Handout Three: Human Rights and Violations (Answer Key)
  • Scissors


  1. Anticipatory Set Pose the question, “Do we have a responsibility to be concerned with the well-being/rights of others as well as our own?” Accept all answers, asking students to defend their opinions. Then share the following quote from some homeless children in Haiti who worked together to build a shelter and an activist radio program to help each other. They were asked what they would like to say to young people in the United States. They said, “Tell them we are here, that we are no less than wealthy children, and that there should be a place for everyone at the table.” Ask students to reflect on and share their thoughts and interpretation of the quote.

  2. Ask students to name rights to which children are entitled (list on board, overhead, or chart paper).

  3. Show students the Handout One: Simplified Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a comparison/contrast to those students brainstormed. Ask for student reaction to these rights. Are there some that surprised them?

  4. Distribute scissors and Handout Two: Human Rightsand Violations to each pair of students, or small group. Direct students to cut the pieces in the right column apart (students may leave the column at left and rearrange corresponding pieces on the right side to save time). Tell the students you will be reading them a true story about children who did not have these human rights. Show the students the location of Haiti on a class map if available.

  5. Read A Haitian Story of Hope: Selavi by Youme to students. Ask students to match the rights in the left column of their handout with the with textexamples they cut into pieces as you read the text slowly and thoughtfully.

  6. The teacher may discuss the connections as he/she reads, or wait to conduct a reflective discussion as a follow-up to the reading. Utilize the following questions to enhance meaning:

    • Which aspect(s) of this true experience made the greatest impact upon you? Why?
    • Who were the “angry faces,” and how could people be arbitrarily arrested and burned from their homes?
    • Reflect on/share your thoughts about the hope within this story.
    • What are the messages Selavi’s family want to share and why?
    • Discuss the references to the “mighty river.” What do you think is the meaning of this term?
    • What were the evidences of kindness and philanthropy in the story?
  7. Ask the students to discuss what from this story they can they apply to their own community. How can young people work together to create a more civil society? Brainstorm concrete ideas for service and advocacy they can do.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Examine several examples of philanthropic traditions practiced in diverse cultures.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.
      4. Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.