Song Mapping: Philanthropy Lesson (2nd)

K, 1, 2

This lesson is designed to help students develop a better understanding that a community is group of people working together for a common. Many people in a community need help and one of the places that they can get help is called a Relief Office. A Relief Office  needs many volunteers to help it run efficiently.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy as giving of time, talent and treasures.
  • locate, on a map of the United States, five of the places listed in the chorus of This Land is Your Land.
  • explain that relief offices are everywhere and often have volunteers who work in them.
  • describe how s/he could be a volunteer.
  • Recording of This Land is Your Land (see Bibliographical References)
  • Book, This Land is Your Land (see Bibliographical References)
  • Large pull-down map of the USA
  • Handout One: Outline map of the United States for each student
  • Crayons, colored pencils
  • A projected copy of the students’ map (optional)
  • A picture of the Statue of Liberty (optional)
  • Guthrie, Woody and Arlo Guthrie.  This Land Is Your Land.  


  1. Anticipatory Set: Play the recording of “This Land Is Your Land” and have the class sing along. Ask: Who remembers the name of the man who wrote and sang this song?

  2. Show the last tri-fold page of the book This Land Is Your Land. Discuss what is happening in the different parts of the country. Are they doing things students might do?

  3. Woody Guthrie named many places in his song. What are some of the places that we could place on a map?

  4. Give each student the United States outline map sheets (Handout One). Using a large pull-down map of the United States as your guide, call learners up to point out the five main areas that are listed in the song (California, New York Island, Redwood Forest, Gulf Stream Waters, Desert). As a student points out where the area is located on the map, the other students should draw a picture and write the word for it on their maps. Continue to enlist volunteers until all five of the places have been named.

    • California: Write the state’s name along the western coast. Ask students what they think of when they hear the word “California” (surfers, Disneyland, hot weather, etc.). Have the learners draw a picture of what they want to show as a symbol for California on the location of California on the map.
    • New York Island: Write the words “New York” and draw a picture of the Statue of Liberty. (Optional: If you have a picture of the Statue of Liberty it might help some children.) If the class is unfamiliar with the Statue of Liberty, they could draw skyscrapers.
    • Redwood Forest: Write words and draw trees in northern or central California.
    • Gulf Stream Waters: Write word where the Gulf of Mexico is on the map and draw waves.
    • Desert: Write the word and draw a cactus plant near Arizona or New Mexico.
  5. Ask: What is a community? (Group of people working together for a common cause.) Explain that the more people in the community work together, the better the community becomes. See if students can give examples of people working together in a community (sports team, faith based organization, class, school, club, family).

  6. Explain that sometimes people in communities need to help each other. One place they might go for help is a relief office. Ask: Where on the map should we put a relief office? Lead the class to the conclusion that a relief office could be put anywhere on the map because every community has people who need help. Have students write relief office anywhere they choose on the map and label it. Ask: Who do you think works at a relief office? (Volunteers). What is a volunteer? (A person who does something because s/he wants to. A volunteer doesn’t get paid.)

  7. Ask: Why would someone volunteer to work in a relief office? Take all suggestions. Conclude that it feels good to help others.

  8. Explain that a volunteer does philanthropy (write the word on the board). Have students pronounce it several times. See if anyone knows what it means. Take suggestions. Explain that philanthropy means giving of your time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

  9. To make sure students understand these terms, ask:

    • What is your time? (Recess, after school, etc.)
    • What is your talent? Can you do something well that you could share with others? (Play music, sing, rake leaves, read a story, friendship, etc.)
    • What are your treasures? (Money or possession.)
  10. Ask if there is anything students could volunteer to do that would help people in our community. (Take suggestions.)

  11. Have students draw a picture of themselves anywhere on the map, being a volunteer, and write several sentences on the back of what they are doing to help others.


Use Handout Two to evaluate the Song Mapping assignment.

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.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.11 Describe the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.