Introduction to A Road Less Traveled

6, 7, 8

This lesson may stand on its own as an introduction to the concept of philanthropy or lead into the unit exploring philanthropy of different geographic traditions. Students listen to a read-aloud picture book that illustrates the value of giving gifts that are good for the giver and receiver. We expand thinking of potential gifts of time, talent, and treasure.  

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 50-Minute Class Period

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)
  • copies of the three handouts: 
  1. Time, Talent, Treasure Worksheet 
  2. Vocabulary List 
  3. Philanthropy Worksheet 

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


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask students to describe in their journal one treasured item from home that they would be proud to give if there was someone whose discomfort they could make better with a gift.

  2. Read Franklin's Christmas Gift to the class. Discuss the story and the transition in Franklin's attitude. What was the change and why did he shift? When the story says that Franklin "felt good all over" it is because philanthropy makes the giver feel good. Discuss that feeling that comes from giving. 

  3. Talk about what traits make the donations in the book 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.

  4. Discuss the meaning of the word philanthropy as "giving of time, talent, and/or treasure." Share examples.

  5. On a copy of the Time, Talent, and Treasure Worksheet (handout) students list examples of what they could share for each of the three categories. 

  6. Read through the Vocabulary List handoutTalk about the definitions, asking students to define them in their own words. Discuss family traditions related to the terms and clarify any misconceptions or questions regarding these terms. 

  7. As they complete the Philanthropy Worksheet handout, students refer to the item they suggested they would be proud to give in the beginning of the lesson.

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.