PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • describe and give examples of character traits of good citizens.
  • explain that philanthropy is part of good citizenship and exemplify philanthropy through random acts of kindness.
  • Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen (Handout One)
  • Song/Skit Reporting Form (Handout Two), student copies (Spanish version Handout Four)
  • Skit/Song Rubric (Handout Three), student copies (Spanish version Handout Five)
  • Large chart paper
  • Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
  • Markers, tape
  • Canfield, Jack, Mark Hansen and K. Kirberger. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1997. ISBN 1-55874-468
  • Conari Press (Ed.). Random Acts of Kindness. Berkeley: Conari Press, 1993.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Read “The Teenagers Bill of Rights” in the book Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Ask students if they can think of any other rights they may have as teenage citizens. List their answers on the board.

  2. Tell students that today we are going to discuss character traits of citizenship in a democracy. Put Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen (Attachment One) on the board. Reveal the first character trait (living life to its fullest) and ask students to give examples of what that means to them and record their responses on large paper. Continue the same procedure with the remaining nine characteristics.

  3. Read “Life Just Isn’t” from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.

  4. With Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen (Attachment One) on the overhead projector, ask students to name the character traits from the list that were contained in “Life Just Isn’t.”

  5. Divide students into groups of two or three (depending on class size). Assign each group one of the “Top Ten” character traits. Distribute Song/Skit Reporting Form (Attachment Two) and Skit/Song Rubric (Attachment Three). Go over both forms. Explain that each group will be responsible for a song or skit that will demonstrate their assigned trait. Groups should plan their task and complete the form.

  6. Students should perform their song or skit for class members.

  7. Put the term philanthropy on the board or overhead. Solicit definitions and examples. Explain that philanthropy includes giving and sharing, volunteering, private individual action intended for the common good. Ask for examples of how volunteers can act for the common good. Refer back to the Top Ten Character Traits of an Awesome Citizen. Ask the learners which of the top ten traits apply to philanthropic acts.

  8. Ask the learners if they have heard of the idea of a random act of kindness. This is a kindness done to someone without recognition and without thanks. Examples can range from an anonymous note wishing someone a good day, a bright flower placed on someone’s desk, letting someone with one or two items move ahead of you in line at the check-out stand, etc. Ask for other examples people can easily do. Initiate the idea of the learners doing a random act of kindness within the next week. Follow up a week later with a discussion of what kinds of things were done, how they made the persons involved feel and whether it was a worthwhile thing to do. Could these random acts of kindness be considered a form of philanthropy? Do they exemplify any of the character traits of an awesome citizen?


Students are assessed using the Skit/Song Rubric (Attachment Three).

Cross Curriculum 

Students will participate in random acts of kindness for a week without seeking recognition or thanks.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Explain and give examples of how a democratic constitution requires and protects philanthropic behavior as a democratic principle.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.