Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

You Can Bank on Me!
Unit of 5 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus Questions: How do our decisions about spending affect the common good? How do our needs and wants impact our choices? 

Unit Purpose:

Students learn the meaning of the words spend, save and donate. They collect money to donate and use a decision-making model to choose the recipient. 

Unit Objectives:

The learners will:
  • differentiate between the vocabulary words spend, save and donate.

  • discuss why people would want to donate money.

  • participate in a discussion on the uses of money.

  • describe the terms save and spend.

  • recognize acts of philanthropy.

  • hear and perform the song, “You Can Bank on Me.”

  • define how the choices made can benefit the entire community.

  • use a decision-making model to come to consensus about how to spend his/her money.

  • visually distinguish between a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.

  • recite the value of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter.

  • group and count coins to make a dollar.

  • use art media to create a three-part bank to use at home.

  • deliver the gift to the charity of the class’ choice.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

The students will collect coins over the course of the unit. They will identify a need in their community, select an organization to receive their money and present the gift.

Unit Assessment:

Display the banks that you have used for this unit. Give students story paper and have them draw a picture and/or write to show how they would use the money in their own lives. Use the following rubric for scoring:

4- Pictures or writing showing three or more supports, use of three vocabulary words along with constructive thought and legible writing.
3- Pictures or writing with two or more supports, use of two vocabulary words and legible writing
2- Simple picture, one support sentence, one vocabulary word included.
1- Simple picture

School/Home Connection:

  • “Copy-and-Paste” Class/School Newsletter Information Insert:
    You may hear your child singing the words to a new song over the next few weeks as we explore a philanthropy unit called, “You Can Bank on Me.” Philanthropy is the giving or sharing of time, talent or treasure for the common good. In this unit, we will focus on sharing “treasure.” The students will discover three general purposes for money: spending, saving and donating. Our class will read two wonderful children’s books that illustrate the difference between saving and spending. A third book will guide us in recognizing why people choose to donate money, or “treasure.” Over the course of the unit, the students bring in small change and put it in a collection jar in our classroom. Then, a special decision-making model helps us come to consensus about where to donate that money. We culminate our philanthropy unit with an art lesson in which we make special three-part piggy banks that the children take home and use for saving, spending and donating their own money.

  • Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
    In Lesson One: Spend, Save or Donate, the students go home with the assignment of earning some money to donate. (See Attachment Two: Letter to Families from Lesson One: Spend, Save or Donate)

  • In Lesson Three: Decision-Making Model, send home a copy of the decision-making grid created with the students. Parents and children talk about the process.

  • In Lesson Five: My Bank, My Decision, send home a letter (see Attachment Four: A Note about Three-Part Banks from Lesson Five: My Bank, My Decision) explaining to the parents the purpose of the three-part banks. Encourage parents to help the children set reasonable goals for saving and donating.

    Teacher Note:
    In order to avoid feelings of embarrassment or inadequacy on the part of any student, the teacher may want to have some coins available for those children who are unable to bring them from home or for those who forget to bring them.

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

Lessons Developed By:

Barbara Ladewski
Albion Public Schools
Albion Open School
401 E Michigan Ave
Albion, MI 49224

Julie Forth
Romulus Community Schools
Wick Elementary School
36900 Wick Road
Romulus, MI 48174

Leslie VanHauter
Southgate Community Schools
Chormann Elementary
15500 Howard
Southgate, MI 48195

Thomas Townsel
Detroit Public Schools
Langston Hughes
16776 Southfield
Detroit, MI 48235

Vicki Zeleji
Southgate Community Schools
Chormann Elementary
15500 Howard
Southgate, MI 48195

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