Connecting Poetry with Philanthropy

6, 7, 8

The students will use their knowledge of philanthropy and poetic conventions to write original poetry about philanthropic giving.

PrintTwo Fifty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • write poetry based on philanthropy using poetic conventions.
  • illustrate a poem with original art work or computer generated graphics.
  • Computers to word process poetry and find or produce appropriate clip art
  • “Lion King” CD by Elton John
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Students should take the final copy of their poems home to be read by an adult. The learner should discuss the process of writing and illustrating the poem and the adult should initial the poem.


John, Elton. The Lion King. Original CD Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1994. Disney: ASIN: B000001M1Y.

Van der Pluijm, Rick. "50 Ways to Give: A List Worth Putting on Your Fridge" 


  1. Anticipatory Set:Play “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” CD. Tell students to write about how this song’s lyrics relate to philanthropy themes of time, treasure and talent for the common good. They should also write how this relates to them personally.

  2. Review the definition of philanthropy and discuss responses to the Anticipatory Set. Review the poetic conventions of rhyme, rhythm, refrain, alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor, simile and personification.

    • Explain stanzas in poetry to students.
      • Stanzas in poetry are like paragraphs in an essay or chapters in a book. Each stanza is usually separated from others by a blank space on the page. It is a way for organizing and separating ideas.
      • Also explain that the first word of each new line of poetry should be capitalized.
    • Assign students the task of writing a poem of at least three stanzas. This poem should include at least three of the poetic conventions studied. This poem should relate to the theme of philanthropy. (It may be easier for the learners to begin their poems with the metaphor or simile created in Lesson Three: Painting Pictures with Poetry.) Brainstorm ideas and subtopics with the class, for example, the poem might be about giving that takes place within the family or about an organization to which their families belong which takes part in philanthropic activities. Allow time to begin writing the rough draft of the poem.
    • Use the writing process for peer editing and revising. Then, if available, use the computer lab to word process final copies. Once the poem is created, the learner should design an original illustration or select computer-generated clip art that matches the idea of the poem.
    • Conduct a “coffee house” fundraiser or turn the poems and artwork into stationery or greeting cards which can be sold. In the next lesson, students will determine how the funds will be allocated to aid worthwhile causes.

The assessment is the three-stanza poem about philanthropy with at least three poetic conventions. The illustration should be directly related to the topic of the poem.

Cross Curriculum 

Student writing will be compiled in a poetry book and entries will be read orally at a “coffee house” for parents. Students’ poetry and artwork can be made into greeting cards to be sold. The money generated from this sale will be given in Lesson Five: If I Were Bill Gates…. as grants to philanthropic causes of the students’ choice.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Set a fund-raising goal and identify sources of private funds.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.