Preparation to Help and Poetic Reflection

3, 4, 5

The teacher and a representative from the local environmental agency prepare the class a couple days in advance of their philanthropic project of volunteering their time and effort to clean up for the common good. 

PrintTwo 45-Minute Class Sessions

The learner will:

  • classify items into categories.
  • explain the importance of acting safely.
  • summarize the importance of philanthropic behavior and working for the common good.
  • write a haiku and cinquain poem.
  • Bag of debris from the beach (garbage, driftwood, feathers, shells, animal bones). NOTE: prepare the students for safe and mature response if they find "unpleasant" items on the day of the visit such as tampons, condoms, syringes, etc.
  • One pair of rubber gloves
  • Paper and pencils
  • Forms for Poetic Reflection (Handout)
  • International Coastal Cleanup Data Sheet (Handout)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Hold up a bag of beach items and say to the class, "I took a walk on the beach yesterday, and I collected some things in this bag. What do you suppose I found?" Without pulling items out, listen to their ideas. As they guess things that might be at the beach, discuss safe handling practices, what belongs, and what should be thrown away, recycled, or handled by an adult.

  2. Review the definition of philanthropy as "volunteering of our time, talent, or treasure for the common good." Ask, "Which element(s) of this definition will we practice when we are cleaning the beach?" Discuss how we can be like Walter in Just a Dream, which was read yesterday.

  3. Distribute International Coastal Cleanup Data Sheet (handout) and review the categories briefly. Review how to make tally marks, with four lines and a slash to record in groups of five for easier counting and tabulating at the end.

  4. While wearing a glove, pull out items from the bag one at a time and have students identify whether or not each item belongs on the beach. If it is trash, categorize and tally it. (Use overhead or board to demonstrate.)

  5. Divide the class into groups of three or four in preparation for the project. (Picking numbered sticks out of a can that correspond with student numbers works well). Students one and two can pick up garbage while student three records on the tally sheet. Student four can hold the garbage bag and help locate items on the tally sheet. (These jobs may be rotated every ten minutes if desired.)

  6. Distribute Forms for Poetic Reflection (handout) and present the different types of poetry to be written at the park: haiku and cinquain. Write an example of each type together to be sure students understand. When you go to the beach, you may want a print-out of the form for students to follow.

  7. Inform students that they will also be drawing a sketch of a dune scene at the park. They must have their drawing tools ready (pencil, crayons, or colored pencils).

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.