Partners for the Common Good (4th Grade)

3, 4, 5

The students distinguish between for-profit and nonprofit organizations. They identify nonprofit organizations in their community and create an information cube to share with their families to increase awareness of philanthropy within their own communities.

PrintOne 45 minute class period

The learner will:

  • compare the terms selfishness and selflessness.
  • describe what responsibility people have for the common good of their community.
  • define the terms philanthropy and for profit and nonprofit organization.
  • identify several nonprofit organizations in the community and state their purpose.
  • City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan (see Bibliographical References
  • Handout One: Rubric for an Informational Cube
  • Handout Two: Pattern forInformational Cube

Write a metaphor or simile comparing selfishness or selflessness to a food or animal. For example, "Selflessness is like a garter snake because it moves with grace and silently among friends." Selfishness is like a fish bone that gets caught in your throat and reminds you to be more careful." 


DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne. City Green. William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN: 068812786X



  1. Anticipatory Set: Before reading aloud the book, City Green, show students the cover of the book and discuss what the book may be about. Accept all answers. Read the book and discuss how the members of the community came together for the good of all. Discuss how the people felt about their efforts.

  2. Write the words selfishness and selflessness on the board. Tell the class to THINK about the difference between the words. Have the students PAIR up and talk about the difference and SHARE their thoughts.

  3. Discuss the differences with the whole group. What does selflessness in the community look like? Why is it important for community members to have the quality of selflessness?

  4. Ask the group to discuss what responsibility they think people have for the common good of their community. Possible answers: civility, cooperation, respect, feed the hungry, to provide shelter for the homeless, to provide activities for the youth, to keep the city clean.

  5. Review the definitions of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. (Philanthropy—giving of time, talent and treasure for the common good; Nonprofit Organization—an organization whose income is not used for the benefit or private gain of stockholders, directors or any other persons with an interest in the company; not necessarily charitable)

  6. Investigate the nonprofit organizations, and their mission or purpose, in the community by brainstorming. (Get a list and their purposes in your community before hand through the Chamber of Commerce, on by doing a zip code search, available pamphlets, mayor’s office, etc.).

  7. Discuss how members of the community give of the time, talent, and treasures to help nonprofit organizations

  8. Brainstorm with the class how they might support the work of one or more of the nonprofit organizations and benefit the common good of their community.


Assessment will be through observation of student participation and contributions to the discussion and brainstorming sessions. Evaluate students’ written assignments using grade-level writing expectations as well as following the directions of the assignment.

Cross Curriculum 

Students plan voluntary action to support the work of one of the nonprofits they researched.

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. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Define stewardship and give examples.
      2. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.