Yea For Volunteers!

K, 1, 2

Students will be able to define volunteerism and distinguish between volunteer and non-volunteer jobs in the school.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne-Hour Class Period

The learner will:

  • define volunteer as someone who shares time and talent without payment.
  • identify volunteers in the classroom and school setting.
  • illustrate and describe in writing the concepts of volunteer and paid worker.
  • The class book made in Lesson One: School Worker Guessing Game
  • List of adults who have volunteered their help in the classroom or at school (ex. baked cookies for a party, listened to students read, helped in the lunch room, chaperoned for a field trip, etc.)
  • Bean bag or a ball
  • Paper for illustrations
  • Pencils, crayons or markers
Home Connection 

Encourage students to talk about volunteering at home. Send home Attachment One: Volunteering Homework as a discussion guideline.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Gather the students on the floor and read to them from the book compiled from Lesson One: School Worker Guessing Game of school employees. Tell the students that these people are all workers who are hired by the school to do a certain job. They are paid for their work. Tell the students that there are many other people who do important jobs for the students and the school who do not get paid. Ask them if they know who they might be.

  2. Ask guiding questions about the work of adult volunteers on the prepared list:

  3. “Who baked cookies for our party?”

    “Who helped us on our field trip?”

    “Who came to our room to listen to children read?”

  4. Ask the students why these people help so much if they are not paid. Introduce the word “volunteer” and discuss the meaning of the word (one who shares time and/or talent with no pay). Talk about the importance of volunteers at school (and in the larger community and country). The school could not afford to pay for all the services provided by volunteers. Therefore our school (or classroom or country) is a better place because of the work of volunteers. Discuss what volunteers get from the experience (satisfaction, joy, fun, better school, conserve limited resources).

  5. Make a list of words that describe the characteristics of someone who helps the class with their work.

  6. Have children sit in a circle. As you name a job, throw a bean bag or roll a ball to a student. That student should tell whether the job is volunteer or non-volunteer as he returns the bean bag or ball to the teacher. Repeat so everyone has a turn.

  7. Give each student a paper and direct them to fold it in half. Next, they should label one side “volunteer” and the other “paid worker.” Students should draw a picture under each label to illustrate the meaning of each concept. The students also write or dictate a descriptive sentence under each picture to show their understanding of the terms “volunteer” and “paid worker.”


Students should show through their illustrations and sentences an understanding that a volunteer gives of their time and/or talent for no pay.

Use the following rubric for evaluation:

3 – Both pictures and sentences reflect an understanding of the terms.

2 – Pictures show an understanding but the sentences do not.

1 – They have pictures and sentences but neither reflect an understanding of the terms.

Cross Curriculum 

None for this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.11 Describe the difference between volunteer and paid labor.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 02. Careers In The Nonprofit Sector
      1. Benchmark E.1 Distinguish between volunteer and non-volunteer jobs.