Special Delivery--Handle with Care

K, 1, 2

Students will donate their time/talent/treasure by sharing their cards and plants with a person at a retirement home.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne-Half Day for Field Trip and Classtime

The learners will:

  • interact with a senior friend through shared conversation.
  • give note cards and potted plants to senior citizens.
  • Potted plant from Lesson Three: Rubbing Elbows with Plants
  • Note card from Lesson Three: Rubbing Elbows with Plants
  • The Rainbow Fish (see Bibliographical References)
  • Camera
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Allow the students to bring home the completed memory book to share with their families. Remind the students of the importance of returning the books to school.


Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish. North South Books, 1995. ISBN: 1558584412


  1. Anticipatory Set: Begin the lesson by reading the book The Rainbow Fish. Discuss how the rainbow fish benefited by giving a little bit of himself to others. Ask the students to relate the story to their own experiences. When they bring a flower and note card to a person at the retirement home, they are giving a little of themselves. Discuss how giving benefits the giver as well as the one who receives.

  2. Prior to this lesson, make arrangements for the class to take a field trip to a senior center or retirement facility. Be sure to plan for transportation, volunteers, permission slips, procedure/schedule and pairing of students to senior citizens.

  3. Talk with the students about the procedures for the visit and how to interact with the senior friends. Discuss any special needs they may encounter. Raise their sensitivity by talking about limitations such as mobility and hearing. Ask the students to be respectful and kind. Encourage them to talk with strong voices without yelling and to speak slowly and clearly.

  4. When you leave for the field trip, make sure each student has a potted flower and a note card to give. Instruct learners to give cards and flowers to senior citizens, and encourage conversation. Teachers (and volunteers) may need to promote conversation among some pairings. It may help to put two or three pairs together. Take pictures while you are there.

  5. Thank the senior friends for their time and return to school.

  6. Back at school, while you still have volunteers, each student writes or dictates at least one sentence about the giving experience at the senior center. Possible sentence starters: I shared my (time/talent/treasure) by . . . I enjoyed meeting my senior friend because . . . The best part of giving is . . .

  7. Students also write thank-you notes to all the volunteers who supported the learning process throughout the unit. Use the writing process to make sure the letters follow writing mechanics and are clearly written. The teacher can mail or hand-deliver the notes.

  8. Create a memory book with photos from the unit and reflections by the students. The teacher should make two copies: one for the classroom and one to put in the library. Laminate and bind the books.


Assess through teacher observation of student participation in interview. Assess students’ use of language and writing mechanics in their reflections and thank-you notes.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
  2. 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. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.