What Can I Do for You?

K, 1, 2

Students will learn about philanthropic acts and that teacher permission is not always necessary in order to perform the act. The students will learn two songs that focus on philanthropic acts.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • describe the concept of community within the classroom and the school.
  • list philanthropic acts they can complete without permission from the teacher.
  • memorize and sing two songs about philanthropic acts.
  • Piano or keyboard to play songs


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Recall ABCs Alphabody activity and actions that went with letters from the last lesson. Ask students if any of these acts of philanthropy need permission from a teacher or another person in order to complete. Discuss why or why not.

  2. Introduce the concept of community. Explain that a community is a town, city, suburb, or other place where people live and work together. It is also a group having common interests and likes. Ask students to give examples of a community of which they are a part such as a neighborhood, classroom, school, church, etc. Ask students what acts of philanthropy are being done in their own community.

  3. Briefly involve students in a discussion about times that a student would need permission from the teacher to complete an act of philanthropy, e.g., inappropriate time, interrupting someone else, etc.

  4. Brainstorm a list of philanthropic acts that students could do in the classroom, school or playground that would not need permission from the teacher.

  5. Teach the song "What Can I Do for You?" Begin with the chorus and have students echo the words a phrase at a time. Next, echo the phrases together (each line). Then echo sing the lines and finally sing the complete chorus. Follow the same method to teach the verses. Discuss how this song fits the idea of philanthropy in the community.

  6. Teacher Note: It is best to teach small parts of new songs each session. Review at the beginning of each class and add to the song until you finish it. That may mean that you teach the chorus one day, the first verse next session, and the second verse the third day. Throw in a few old songs that the students know well so that they don't get too overwhelmed.

  7. Teach the song "Random Acts of Kindness." Follow the same procedure as for the first song.


Catch students doing philanthropic acts in the classroom. Make sure to call attention to the act, especially when they did not ask permission to complete it. Listen to the students as they sing. When they have had the opportunity to sing the entire song several times, challenge them to sing it without your help. You can assess how well they have learned the songs by listening.

Cross Curriculum 

Read about the service-learning project called Monthly Kindness by Worthingon Elementary School students who were taught using this What Can I Do for You? lesson to guide student learning and action.

Ms. Nolting is a 2nd grade teacher at Worthingon Elementary School in Indiana. “My students will be the next generation to lead this country,” said Nolting. “They need to begin at an early age to learn the value of being an active citizen and compassion for all people.”

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.7 Describe why the classroom, school, or neighborhood is a community governed by fundamental democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.7 Give classroom examples of when a student does not need the teacher's permission to act philanthropically.