What Is a Philanthropist?

K, 1, 2

This lesson introduces students to the concept of philanthropy. As a class, they brainstorm possible ideas for the word philanthropist. The students will learn that even young people can be philanthropists. The following lessons lead to students planning a fundraiser. 

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • create a chart listing possible definitions for philanthropist.
  • create a flip book representing the beginning, middle and end of the story, The Lion and the Mouse.
  • retell the story, The Lion and The Mouse, in peer groups.
  • A copy of the book, The Lion and the Mouse, by Carol Jones
  • Chart paper and markers
  • White construction paper (18 x 12)

Jones, Carol. The Lion and the Mouse. Walter Lorraine Books, 1997. ISBN: 0-395-86956-0


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the students "Today we are going to learn a really big word. It’s a word WAY bigger than a first grade word, way bigger than a second grade word, maybe even bigger than a grown-up word." 

  2. Write the word PHILANTHROPIST on chart paper. Have the students repeat the word several times together. This optional "Philanthropy Cheer" activity plays with the big word (and breaks the word into beginning, middle, and end).

    Introduce essential question, "What is a philanthropist?"

    Lead a class discussion about what a philanthropist is, including "someone who gives time, talent, or treasure for the common good." Tell the students they are philanthropists when they act for good. Write on a chart their suggestions for kind things people can do for others (or animals or the world). The chart should remain on display throughout the unit for students to come back to as needed.

  3. Show the students the cover of the book, The Lion and the Mouse, by Carol Jones.  Tell them that the story is about a philanthropist. As the story is read to the students, tell them to "Pay close attention and see if you can spot a philanthropist in our story."

    As the story is read, talk about the characters and setting of the story. Students will need to be reminded that the characters are the people in the story and the setting is where the story takes place.

  4. Discuss the concepts from the book: ask the students to recall what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the story.

    • What changes took place?
    • How was the lion able to help the mouse?
    • How was the mouse able to help the lion?

    Discuss which character(s) in the story were philanthropists. Expand the discussion to what big and small ways we help others, either with no thought of how it benefits us, or in ways that make the world a better place. 

  5. Have the students create a picture flipbook by folding the construction paper in half the long way and dividing it into three equal 6" sections. Cut each section to the fold to create a window that will flip up to reveal a student illustration. Have the students write the word beginning on the first window, middle on the next window, and end on the final window. The students will then need to decide what happened at each point in the story and draw an illustration under the window.

    Students can practice retelling the story in small peer groups using their flipbooks.


Teacher observation of student responses during the group discussion and retelling of the story in peer groups. Students must have the beginning, middle and end of the story represented in the flipbook. They must also be able to use a complete sentence to tell about each part in their retelling session.

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.