K, 1, 2

Students will think of ways that they can be (or have been) philanthropists. A puppet or doll tells about going to a soup kitchen and gets the students excited about providing food for a soup kitchen. A variety of multidisciplinary centers focus on soup kitchens. At the end of the lesson, students begin preparing for a family night of assembling dried soup.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo and One-Half Hours (includes center time)

The learner will:

  • define the words philanthropy and philanthropist.
  • brainstorm small ways that he/she can be a philanthropist.
  • count and graph small objects.
  • state the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
  • Puppet of a child or a doll
  • Simple two-option graph and graphing materials
  • A mix of tri-colored pasta and red beans in small cups (30 pieces or less per cup)
  • Student writing journals
  • Book: Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen (see Bibliographical References)
  • Copies of Bean and Pasta Graph (Attachment One)
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:If you plan to have a family night for assembling the soup mix, displaying art projects and having children perform songs, be sure to let the parents know as early as possible. The parent letter provided can serve as a reminder and a formal invitation. Remind the students that they need to return the RSVP as soon as possible. (See Lesson One: Harvesting the Produce, Attachment Three: Family Night Parent Letter.)


Canfield, Jack and Mark V. Hansen. Chicken Soup for the Little Soul: The Goodness Gorillas. Deerfield Beech, Florida: Health Communications, Inc., 1997. ISBN: 155874505X.

DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne. Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen. New York: Mulberry Books, 1997. ISBN 0-688-15285-6



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    As the students enter the room, have each child respond to the following question by placing a mark on a graph.

    I can be a philanthropist.

    Yes No


  2. Discuss the results of the graph. You will need to review the meaning of philanthropy (sharing of time, talents and treasures for the common good). To help them remember the difference between philanthropy and a philanthropist, simplify the definitions: "philanthropy is the kind act" and "a philanthropist is the person who does the kind act."

    • Tell the students a personal story (or make up a story) of a time when someone was a philanthropist to you. (Example: One time I was in line at the coffee store and the man in front of me paid for my son's milk. The cashier accidentally rang it up on his bill and he told her to keep it there. He walked away without telling me he did it. The cashier told me after he had left. Not only did he do something kind, he didn't wait to be thanked for it.) Share with them how you felt. Tell a story of a time when you were a philanthropist. Again share how it made you feel. Help the children think of ways they can be philanthropists.
    • Use a puppet of a child (a doll or a paper puppet can be substituted) to tell the children a story about a child who eats meals at a soup kitchen. The story should go something like this:"Hi, my name is Lisa. I go to (make up a school name) and I am in the first grade. I like school but do you know what I like best about school? The lunch! When I leave for school in the morning, my Mom kisses me and always reminds me to eat all of my lunch. It's important to eat all of my lunch because we don't have very much food at home. When I go to bed, I am usually pretty hungry. Sometimes I take an apple or an orange home from my school lunch. At bedtime, we cut it into pieces and my whole family shares it. That's so much fun. I see McDonalds sometimes but I've never been there. My family goes out to eat on Sundays to a place they call a soup kitchen. Do any of you know what that is? The food is really good and we don't even have to pay for it. But we can't take food home from the soup kitchen. So on Sunday nights I'm pretty hungry by the time I go to bed again. So you probably can understand now why I like lunchtime at school the best."
    • The teacher quietly places the puppet out of sight and reflects with the students. Ask them if they would like to help children like Lisa who go to eat at soup kitchens. Tell them that you know of a soup recipe that they could make. We could send the soup to the soup kitchen (or any organization that provides food for families). The people who receive the soup mixture would only need water to make a good, healthy meal. The students will be enthusiastic about helping. Tell them that you'll begin to make those arrangements.
    • Centers:
      • WRITING: Students will use their writing journals to draw a picture of a time that they helped someone (or a picture of themselves helping someone in the future). They copy the sentence "I am a philanthropist." from the board.
      • MATH: Students graph red beans and pasta. (Those foods will be used for making the soup.) They use the "Bean and Pasta Graph" (Attachment One) to record the number of beans and pasta colors they count from one cup.
      • LISTENING CENTER: Prior to this class, record your voice reading the book Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen. (See Bibliographical References.) If possible, have more then one copy of the book available so that several students can listen at the same time since the book is lengthy.
      • DRAMATIC PLAY: Provide props so that students can pretend to work or eat at a soup kitchen.
    • At the conclusion of center time, gather the class for a group discussion time. Have several students share their journal writing. Encourage students to comment on each other's writing and pictures that illustrate acts of philanthropy. Use this opportunity to review correct letter formation, spacing and punctuation. Ask other students to report on what they pretended to do in the dramatic play area. Discuss the story Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.
    • Tell the students that soup kitchens are run by people who volunteer their time. Explain the difference between paid and volunteer workers and discuss the need for each.
    • Since soup kitchens don't provide every meal for a family, propose that your class can provide meals that people can cook at home. When the class responds in a positive manner, tell them about how the dehydrated vegetables they have could be used to make soup. Get them excited about the project. Send parent invitations home if you are going to have the family night. If not, make final plans for doing the project in class. (See Lesson One: Harvesting the Produce, Attachment Three: Family Night Parent Letter.)

Observe student participation in discussions and center activities. Completed graph assignment.

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.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    3. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.11 Describe the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.