Introduction to A Road Less Traveled

6, 7, 8

This lesson is designed to introduce the concept of philanthropy and familiarize the students with terminology used in the unit.

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy.
  • apply the concept of philanthropy to personal experiences.
  • define and use the vocabulary of philanthropy.
  • Franklin's Christmas Gift (see Bibliography)
  • Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet (Attachment One), two per student
  • Vocabulary List (Attachment Two)
  • Philanthropy Worksheet (Attachment Three)
Home Connection 

The philanthropy worksheet should be duplicated and used as interactive parent/student homework. Instruct students to ask family members about ways they have contributed their time, talent, and treasure.


Bourgeois, Paulette. Franklin's Christmas Gift. New York: Scholastic, 1998. ISBN 0-590-02611-9


  1. Anticipatory Set: Journal Entry: Ask students to list one item from home that they would be willing to give someone less fortunate.

  2. Once students have completed the journal entry, read Franklin's Christmas Gift to the class. Discuss the story using the following as a guide:

  3. After each of Franklin's decisions, ask how he is feeling about his decision and what motivated it.

  4. Just before Franklin comes to his final decision, ask the students to predict his choice.

  5. When the story says that Franklin "felt good all over" tell the students that philanthropy (a word that describes Franklin's actions) makes the giver feel good all over. Spend a few minutes talking about which donations in the book were high value, medium value and low value. Discuss how the value of each item may not be determined by the monetary value of the item, but more by personal value.

  6. Write the word philanthropy on the board. Ask students to brainstorm words that they think describe philanthropy. Record all students' responses. Once the sharing is finished highlight any words that would bring the definition to "giving of time, talent, and/or treasure." Explain to the students that the definition of philanthropy the class will use is "giving of time, talent, and/or treasure for the sake of another, or for the common good." Ask students to think if they are familiar with examples of philanthropy in history. Share examples.

  7. Distribute the Time, Talent, and Treasure Worksheet (Attachment One) and have students create a web, listing what they would have to share for each of the three categories. (Examples may include hours of the week in which they would be able to volunteer, any talents that they personally could share with another, as well as money or any material items they are willing to share.) Give each student another copy of Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet (Attachment One). Explain that this second copy is to be taken home and used as a survey which they will complete with their family.

  8. Distribute Vocabulary List (Attachment Two) to each student. Once students have been given the opportunity to individually read through the list, facilitate a whole group discussion in which students rephrase the definitions using their own words. (This may be done orally or in writing.) Discuss any misconceptions or questions regarding these terms. Make a connection to Franklin's Christmas Gift asking students to identify any of the terms in regard to the story. (Answers should include: immediate family, extended family, interconnectedness, and unknown others). At the close of the discussion, instruct students to create an icon for each term representing their personal interpretations.

  9. Distribute Philanthropy Worksheet (Attachment Three) to each student. Ask students to complete the worksheet using the item they offered in their journal entry.

  10. Have students work with a partner. Using their completed philanthropy worksheets (Attachment Three) ask students to create an illustrated poster of their personal philanthropic experiences. Have them use the front of the poster for kindnesses they have received (answers to Question Three) and use the back for kindnesses they have shared (answers to Question Four). Once they have completed both sides, instruct them to find any correlations between the vocabulary list and their personal reflections. Give each team two or three minutes to share their illustrations and connections with the whole group.


Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet: Correct answers will include appropriate examples of ways people give of their time, i.e., volunteering to clean or do yard work where there is no monetary reward; talent, i.e., when someone teaches or entertains someone with no monetary reward; treasure, i.e., the donation of an item. Things that would not be included would be general parenting activities, gifts to celebrate birthdays or like occasions, and weekly chores or complying with parent expectations. Philanthropy Worksheet: Students' journals should be cross-referenced for correcting answer one. Acceptable answers for three and four would follow the guidelines mentioned for the Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet. Poster: Acceptable answers would follow the guidelines mentioned for the Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

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.