A Grand Showing

9, 10, 11, 12

The purpose of this lesson is to show and celebrate the completion of the video documentary. Sharing the documentary is an act of philanthropy as it teaches and inspires others about philanthropy in the community. Students also reflect and write about the service-learning experience.

PrintTwo or three 50-minute lessons, plus an evening event for the community

The learner will:

  • view and discuss student documentaries.
  • determine places to show and donate the documentaries to benefit the community and promote philanthropy.
  • share documentaries with family and community members.
  • reflect on the experience through writing and images.
  • Completed student documentaries
  • A room and equipment to view the documentaries
  • Donated snacks for the viewing party
  • 2' x 3' foam core or colored paper
  • Personal mission statements from Lesson Two: A Motivated Cast
Teacher Preparation 

Teacher will need to make arrangements for a venue to show the student documentaries to families and community members. Host the party in a room large enough to show the documentaries to a large audience. Or use two rooms: In one room the documentaries loop on a published schedule, and in the other room provide snacks and beverages.

Home Connection 

Families and community members are invited to the evening showing of the documentaries.


Choose from the following reflection activities that include intrapersonal, visual, and written responses.

  • Have the students revisit their mission statements that they wrote in Lesson Two. After their experiences with community members and seeing the impact of their documentaries, they may be ready to adjust their mission statements to reflect new perspectives.
  • Make a large jigsaw puzzle visually representing the class's reflections after the documentary-making experience. Use a 2' x 3' piece of foam core or colored paper from a paper roll. Cut it into jigsaw puzzle pieces--one piece for each documentary group. Give a puzzle piece to each group. Each group decorates their puzzle piece to reflect their experience. They may use pictures, words, or icons to represent their reflections. Put the puzzle pieces together as a display with a heading such as "Reviews of Our Service Experience."
  • Each student writes a descriptive essay about the project. They describe the documentary project from beginning to end, including personal reflections on the positive effects of their experience with community members and making a contribution to the community. Teacher Note: Seniors may submit these essays to apply for a scholarship from the Knight Foundation.

The Gift of All: a Community of Givers, produced by The S.O.U.L. of Philanthropy along with The Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Calvin College. Copyright © Grand Rapids Public Library, City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008, 2009. Streaming video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmaJoQicCEE

Learning to Give. "SOUL of Philanthropy" project. Includes links to video, related quotations, and briefing papers (biographies)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    On the due date for the documentaries, set up the room like a movie theater and provide popcorn.

  2. Show the students' documentaries about the community. Celebrate each project. After each documentary, discuss the theme, philanthropists, and artistic qualities. This may take a couple class periods.

  3. Brainstorm other venues or opportunities for showing the student-made documentaries to a wider audience. Discuss places to share and donate their documentaries where they will be able to make a lasting contribution to the community (a library, community foundation, schools, etc.).

  4. Plan a release party for the documentaries. Ask the students to design invitations for the release party. Each student is responsible for bringing the names and addresses of those who contributed to their individual projects. In class, students address envelopes and mail out invitations. Invitations will also be sent to members of the town council, school administrators, and parents.

  5. Host the party in a room large enough to show the documentaries to a large audience. Or use two rooms: In one room the documentaries loop on a published schedule, and in the other room provide snacks and beverages. Guests may move between the rooms, but make sure they are quiet and respectful in the viewing room.

  6. Ask students to volunteer to help by bringing food. Ask volunteers to help set up before the party and clean up afterwards. At the party, celebrate the excitement of producing something that will be valued for years to come! At the celebration, ask students and guests to describe the value of this contribution to the common good of the community. Encourage guests to make suggestions for other places to share/donate the documentaries.

  7. Donate copies of the documentaries to the school library, public library, community foundation, and/or other places of the students' choosing (including online venues). Contact the local newspaper to ask them to post it on their online newspaper.

  8. Choose from the reflection activities in the Post-Service Reflection below.


The documentary text must meet grade level expectations for writing and format. The documentary must include a definition of philanthropy and examples of philanthropy in their community. Student documentary should include the requirements outlined in Lesson Three: Life Inspires Art Inspires Life.

Cross Curriculum 

The documentaries are acts of philanthropy because they honor civic virtue and teach others about philanthropy and the community. And students donate copies of the documentaries to the school library, public library, community foundation, and/or other places of the students' choosing (including online venues).

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.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark HS.3 List examples of gifts, from a variety of foundations, that are of value to the community.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
  4. 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. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      3. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      4. Benchmark HS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.