Carly and Me

3, 4, 5

During this activity students will use the information they have learned about refugees to complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting themselves to refugees like Carly. They will come to consensus on a service project to benefit refugees or others in need and plan and implement a student-driven service project.

PrintTwo 45-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • compare and contrast information about themselves with information gathered and synthesized about refugees.
  • compose an essay comparing and contrasting themselves to refugees.
  • define philanthropy as giving time, talent and treasure for the common good.
  • plan and implement a service project to benefit refugees or other people in need.
  • Copy of Handout One: Carly and Me for each student
  • Copy of the Compare and Contrast rubric for each student (See Bibliographical References)
  • copy for teacher resource of Handout Two: Fundraising and Service Project Ideas
  • volunteer: one who offers him/herself in service of their own free will
  • resources: available supply or support that can be drawn on when needed or wanted
  • common good: working together for the greater benefit of all; promotes the welfare of the community
  • philanthropy: the giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good
  • service: help given to others
  1. After the student service project is completed, help the students reflect on their experience with this creative activity/bulletin board.  Ask students to self-select into groups of three students. Give each group three sheets of colored construction paper, one sheet of white construction paper, a pair of scissors, and a black marker (assorted colored pens are optional). 
  2. The students draw and cut out the following shapes on the colored construction paper 1) a head, with a “light bulb” drawn in it; 2) a body, with a “heart” drawn in it, and; 3) limbs-two arms and two legs.  Ask the students to think about what the “light bulb” and “heart” might represent. (A light bulb is an icon often identified with “ideas”. A “heart” as an icon is often identified with “feelings.”) Ask the students what they think the “arms and legs” might represent. (Arms and legs are often associated with going places and doing things.)
  3. Now have the groups use their sheet of white construction paper to cut out three “speech balloons.”  Have them write words or phrases that represent how their head (mind), their body (heart) and their arms and legs were involved in the service project. In other words, they write one speech balloon for the head (what they thought about the service), one speech balloon for the body (how they felt about the service), and one speech balloon for the limbs (what they did during the service planning and implementation). 
  4. When completed, ask the groups to assemble their "person" in a display area. Have students walk past the display and read the text. Discuss findings, comparisons, and final thoughts.
Bibliography "Compare and Contrast" This resource contains a variety of links to other resources to help both, teachers and students, when writing comparing and contrasting papers.

NCTE. Read, Write, Think. Compare and Contrast Rubric from readwritethink

NCTE. Read, Write, Think. This resource is a lesson plan on teaching students to compare and contrast.


  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    Have students discuss what they have learned about refugees. Have them brainstorm some ideas about how refugees are similar and how they are different from themselves.

  2. Give each student a copy of Handout One: Carly and Me. Have students fill out the diagram on the handout using what they have learned about refugees. This can be done individually or in pairs.

  3. Review the steps to writing a compare and contrast paper (see Bibliographic References). Distribute and review the Compare and Contrast rubric. Have students refer to the completed Carly and Me handout to help them write their compare and contrast paper.

  4. Ask students to share their paper with a partner and peer edit each other’s paper. Have students revise their papers based on their partner’s feedback.

  5. Ask for students to volunteer to read their papers to the class (may continue into Day Two).

  6. Day Two

  7. Remind the students of the discussion they had about whether or not they would share some of the scarce resources from their backpacks with other refugees in their group. Tell the students that although the backpacks were pretend, they do have an opportunity to share their real resources of time, talent and money or possessions to help refugees. Sharing our resources for the common good is called philanthropy. Ask if they would like to act as philanthropists by giving their time, talent and treasure to help refugees get what they need to survive.

  8. Guide the students in coming to consensus on a class service plan. If the class chooses not to do a group service project, support those individual students who are motivated to do service by helping them brainstorm ideas for creating their own project. (If needed, suggest ideas for service using Handout Two: Fundraising and Service Project Ideas.) Discuss how collaboration has the potential to increase the benefit for the common good.

  9. After the service project is completed, have the students reflect on their efforts using the activity in the Reflection section of this lesson.


Assess student performance on working independently and working cooperatively with others. Assess student participation during discussions. Assess student responses on the Carly and Me handout. Assess students on their writing using the Compare and Contrast Rubric. Assess students on their participation in planning and implementing a service project.

Cross Curriculum 

The learners come to consensus on a plan to provide service to benefit refugees or children in need. They create and implement a service plan either as a class or as individuals.

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.5 Recognize that volunteering requires freedom of choice.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.