Giving Generously

K, 1, 2

Based on the book The Runaway Rice Cake, the group writes a familiar story from a different perspective. The moral of the story is that when the character gives generously and from the heart, the giver is also rewarded in some way.

PrintOne-Hour Session

The learners will:

  • recognize that generosity is rewarded in some way.
  • write a creative retelling of a familiar story.
  • read-aloud copy of The Runaway Rice Cake 
  • map of the world
  • chart paper for group writing
Home Connection 

Talk about family traditions at a favorite holiday. They may write about one tradition and a way to share the holiday tradition with someone else. 


Compestine, Ying Chang. The Runaway Rice Cake. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001. ISBN: 0689829728


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Locate China on a map of the world. Discuss its location in Asia and where it is in relation to North America. Tell the children that this story (The Runaway Rice Cake) takes place in China and at the time of Chinese New Year. Talk about some of their families’ traditions at New Year (or another holiday). “As I read this story, I want you to listen for some of the traditions of this Chinese family. I also want you to listen for the lesson that the family learns. Maybe it is a lesson for us, too.”

  2. Read The Runaway Rice Cake. Note the pronunciation key on the copyright page.

  3. Reread the first two pages and discuss the traditions the Chang family practice. (Also read the information page in the back of the book.)

  4. Discuss why it was especially difficult for the family to share their rice cake (drought year, last of their flour). Was sharing the rice cake a selfless act? How were they rewarded for their generosity?

  5. Write a group story using the elements from this story, but changed a little. Write the children's words on chart paper. Together they reread and edit their collaborative draft.

    • Setting: a holiday
    • Characters: a family celebrating that holiday
    • Problem: One of the important elements of the holiday is missing.
    • Solution: The family gives selflessly.
    • Conclusion The family is rewarded for its generosity.
  6. Assign sentences from the story to each child. They copy their sentence and illustrate it on one page. Bind the book together for a collaborative book to read and share.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.9 Give examples how people give time, talent or treasure in different cultures.