PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will be able to:

  • identify acts of responsible citizenship in different scenarios.
  • identify elements of a community project over time.
  • read aloud copy of A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry.
  • copies of A River Ran Wild handout 
  • copies of What Would You Do? handout
Teacher Preparation 

Story summary: The setting of this story is the Nashua River. As the decades pass, the reader sees how the river changes from a peaceful clean river to a polluted river. Changes occur along the banks of the river—some good and some bad. The reader can compare the changing river from decade to decade, pointing out citizen involvement that helps restore the river in the end. As a suggestion, read the first several pages as a whole class. Guide the discussion emphasizing good citizenship qualities and ones that need improving. (Pre-read before reading with children.)


Cherry, Lynne. A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1992. ISBN: 0152005420.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Discuss what it means to be a helpful citizen by completing and discussing the "What Would You Do?" handout.

  2. Read aloud A River Ran Wild. Learners may complete the A River Ran Wild Guide handout to trace the history of the river issues and cleanup. Discuss the needs in the communities surrounding the Nashua River as it changed over time and the actions that were taken to restore the river. 

  3. Define philanthropy as giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good. Discuss the concept of philanthropy in a community, like around the river community. Complete the handout to explore needs in our own communities. 

    Discuss responses.

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.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.