Philanthro WHAT?

3, 4, 5

Students will understand the vocabulary of philanthropy and the importance of the tradition of philanthropy to the community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty-Five Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • use philanthropic vocabulary correctly in complete sentences and draw a picture illustrating the concept.
  • explain philanthropic terms to others.
  • square of burlap fabric
  • student vocabulary list
  • drawing paper cut into approximately 8" x 8" squares
  • Communities Near and Far. New York: Macmillan/McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company, 1995.
  • Fiddler on the Roof: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Recording. Audio CD (September, 19 1989) EMD/Capital ASIM: B000002U96


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students: “What does tradition mean?” Play the song “Traditions” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. After listening to the song, brainstorm with the class the possible meaning of the word.. Then write the following meaning on the board or chart paper and compare it with the students’ ideas. (A special way of doing something that has lasted a long time because people care about it and pass it on to others).

  2. Discuss and review other traditions studied (birthdays, a block party, game sharing, holiday celebrations, storytelling, volunteer firefighters). Traditions are like the threads of a piece of woven fabric. Together traditions help form strong, healthy communities. Illustrate this concept by using a burlap square to represent the strength of a community and the individual woven threads to represent traditions. Show how a community is strong like the fabric, but can be weakened, by removing some of the threads.

  3. Explain that philanthropy is also a tradition. One of the meanings of the word philanthropy is "an effort to help other people."

  4. Ask students if they can think of examples of philanthropy, or helping other people, that exist or have existed for a long time in their community.

  5. Discuss the importance of the tradition of philanthropy to the community.

  6. Distribute the Student Vocabulary List to each student. Have students individually find the word “philanthropy” and discuss the meaning as a whole group. Tell students that all of the other words on the list will help them understand more about the meaning of philanthropy.

  7. Have each student select a vocabulary word until all are chosen. Then in small groups they help each other write original sentences using the philanthropic terms correctly. 

  8. Tell students to illustrate their sentences using crayons on the square drawing paper. They write the word above the drawing and the definition under the drawing. 

  9. Assemble the squares into a philanthropy quilt and display at school so others learn about philanthropy.


The teacher will look for complete sentences and illustrations that show accurate usage of philanthropy vocabulary. The teacher will expect students to give clear and accurate explanations of philanthropic terms.

Cross Curriculum 

Present a “Show and Tell” program describing philanthropy to other classes or organizations.

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.