Your Land, My Land, Woody's Land

K, 1, 2

Introduce the folksinger Woody Guthrie and his legendary song This Land Is Your Land. His songs were written for everyone to get involved in their community. Learners understand that it is the responsibility of everyone to help take care of each other and the Earth.

PrintOne Forty-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define social good.
  • recognize personal acts for the good of all.
  • read-aloud copy of the book This Land is Your Land 
  • audio version of the song This Land Is Your Land 
Teacher Preparation 

The pages in the book This Land Is Your Land are not numbered.  I’ve tried to explain the location of the page being used by citing the first line and/or describing the pictures.

  • Guthrie, Woody and Arlo Guthrie.  This Land Is Your Land.  Rounder Kids C8050. Rounder Records Corp., 1997.  ASIN: B000003H1, CD.
  • Guthrie, Woody and Kathy Jakobsen.  This Land Is Your Land.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.  ISBN: 0-316-39215-4.


  1. Anticipatory Set: 

    Play the song “This Land Is Your Land.” Ask: Have any of you ever heard this song before? Does anybody know anything about this song? This is a famous song about loving our country and doing our part to take care of it. We are going to learn about the man who wrote and sang this song.

  2. Refer to the book’s second to the last page in This Land Is Your Land that begins with “Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912.” Either read or paraphrase the two pages about Woody’s life.

  3. Emphasize that Woody Guthrie wrote songs for everyone. He wrote songs to bring people together and lift the spirits of people who were having a hard life.

  4. Read the book This Land Is Your Land. Check for understanding of the following vocabulary:

    • valley – a long, narrow, low land between mountains.
    • desert – a dry, often sandy area with little rain and few plants.
    • No Trespassing – do not enter.
    • steeple – a tall tower on the roof of a church.
    • relief office – a place where people go to get help: clothing, food, a place to stay.
    • migrant – a worker who travels from one place to another in search of work.
    • merchant marines – ships that are owned by the country and take supplies to people in war time.
  5. Discuss the main themes of the book related to social good and personal acts for the good of all. What does it mean that this land belongs to all of us? How do people act or take care of something when they share it with others, like a classroom, a play space, or a game?

  6. Sing the song This Land Is Your Land. Display the words to the song for all to see. Read the words together and highlight vocabulary and rhyming words. Discuss the message of the song to us. What does it inspire listeners to do for others?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Make a connection between fundamental democratic principles and philanthropy.