What is an individual's responsibility to the common good?
Photo Credit: Trash Pickup by Kelle2ab is licensed under CC by 2.0
Woody Guthrie sang about how to make the world a better and fairer place for all. We take inspiration from the song This Land is Your Land to communicate the concepts of philanthropy, private property, and “commons." Youth learn the benefits of taking action for the common good, and they identify commons areas in the school or community.
Introduce the folksinger, Woody Guthrie, and his legendary song This Land Is Your Land. Talk about ways we are generous for the good of others. This can be by lifting someone's spirits or taking care of the land we all share.
Motivated by the song "This Land is Your Land," learners locate areas on a U.S. map and discuss the definitions of community, philanthropy, and volunteer. They picture themselves as volunteers, helping others.
Youth distinguish between public and private, and categorize a list of places as public or private. They determine their personal responsibility to care for public (common) areas and share their new understanding by making posters about taking care of "common" or public areas in the school or community.
We explore the difference volunteers make in our world. Youth recognize that even they can volunteer and make a difference in their community.
This culminating activity gives youth an opportunity to teach about our land to others. They spread the word that "commons" are needed, and that when people work together they can make something better.