Finding Time for Philanthropy
Philanthropy: a deliberate affection for mankind, shown in contributions of money, property, or work for the benefit of others
The study and practice of philanthropy benefits everyone involved. Students learn compassion by sharing their time and talents with others, and this compassion can drive them to continue to practice philanthropy throughout their lives. A major problem, though, is one faced by teachers trying to teach anything outside the confines of standard-based education. It’s hard to find the time! This week, students in my district brought home their results from last year’s standardized testing. The subsequent discussions between parents and teachers all week has reminded me of this pull for time between the “tested” subjects and other skills that are equally important in later school years and later in life.
Because of this pull for time, I was interested in resources that integrate the study of philanthropy with other required subjects. Joann is featuring units from Learning to Give this week in her column. Learning to Give and their sister site, GenerationOn, do a good job of combining subjects to make philanthropy an integral part of the learning experience in a variety of subjects. Their resources are catalogued on the Gateway so you can see how they are aligned to your state standards and the Common Core Standards.
Junior high (or middle school in some areas) is a time for change and self-reflection for many students. Teachers have a chance to positively or negatively mold student opinions, interests, and attitudes during this tumultuous time. Choosing to introduce philanthropy to these students can make a huge difference in their lives, helping them consider ways to use their time and talents for others. Global Philanthropy: The United Way is a unit that can be easily integrated into an existing Social Studies unit comparing different countries. The unit adds an element of studying the United Way organizations in each country and combines language arts, sociology, and ecology along with the more traditional social studies themes.
Middle school students will be able to dig deeper into the ideas of philanthropy with The Social Action Project, a hands-on service project to teach students more about civic responsibility. In this unit, students will choose a social issue that interests them, find an organization that deals with that issue, volunteer for that organization, and create a presentation about their experience. This unit will help students develop their presentation and public speaking skills as they learn more about philanthropy and community service. Another middle school unit designed for the social studies classroom is ECHO, ECHO, ECHO: Each Can Help Others. This unit challenges students to write and perform persuasive speeches and make a commitment to philanthropy in one of three different areas.
It’s never too early to start stressing philanthropy in the classroom, especially if it fits in easily with your existing lessons. Students in kindergarten through second grade will learn about spending, saving, and giving in You Can Bank on Me! This unit combines math practice with language arts, social studies, civics, music, and art.
The kids will have a chance to make a real difference in their own community by creating a bicycle safety program and a fundraising drive to raise money and donate helmets to children. In Protect Your Melon, students work together for a common goal and use math and writing skills as they plan and carry out their project. These lessons are fulfilling for students because they get to see the effect of their projects when they actually purchase helmets with the funds they raise.
A great example of combining reading and writing practice with philanthropy and community service is a 3-lesson unit for third through fifth graders called Each One, Teach One. Students are practicing the reading and writing skills that will be tested while getting a healthy dose of education in philanthropy and cooperation at the same time. At the end of this unit, students create books to give away. Time, Talent, Treasure and Economics is designed for the same age group and combines community service with creativity and art education. Students choose one of three quilt-making projects to help create quilts for others in need.
After looking through all of these resources, I realized that there are really too many to feature! If you perform a search of the Gateway for philanthropy, you will find a huge collection of units and lessons from Learning to Give. You can specify your grade range and specific subjects on the right side of the page to find a resource that will easily fit into a unit you already have planned for this year.