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

Kids' Kompany
Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The students explore different ways to earn and use money through a variety of children’s books. They also see that money gives decision-making power.


One Forty-Five Minute Class Period


The learners will:

  • discuss different ways to earn money.
  • list different uses for money (spend, save, donate, earn).
  • identify choices that having money allows us.
  • draw a picture of something that could benefit the common good.
  • explain that money earned can be used to purchase things for the common good.
  • differentiate between self-interest and philanthropy.
  • give examples of how a philanthropist gives time, talent or treasure for the common good.


  • Children’s books about earning, spending and making choices about money. Some suggestions are included in the Bibliographical References below.

  • Chart paper and marker

  • Construction paper, one piece per student

  • Crayons or markers, one set per student
Handout 1
Resources for All

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Start the class by saying, “Raise your hand if you like to get money.” Ask the students how they get money. Encourage them to think of all the sources of their personal money: allowance, selling items at a garage sale, gifts, etc. Ask if they have any ideas for making money. It is not necessary to write these ideas down—just a quick brainstorm. Tell them that they are going to set a goal for earning money in a class project this month.

  • Ask the students to name some things they could spend their money on if they earned some money as a class. Write down their ideas. When they have a significant list, use a code to mark their choices. For example, star the items that benefit the entire class and underline all the choices that help fulfill a need in the community or entire school. Ask the students to look at the unmarked items. Do they have something in common? Are they just for the self- interest of a few students rather than for the common good? Ask the students to define the difference between selfless and selfish. Are the unmarked items selfish?

  • Read two or three stories from the Bibliographical References. Talk about the choices that the characters make with their money. As you read, keep a list of ways they use their money. The list can be grouped into major categories such as spend immediately, save for larger purchase, and give for the common good.

  • Teach the class that when people use their money to help others, they are philanthropists. A philanthropist is someone who gives time, talent or treasure for the common good. (Note to teachers: Review the concepts of time, talent, treasure or common good, if necessary. If there is a company in your community that is known for its philanthropy, discuss this with your students.)

  • Look again at the list generated in the first Instructional Procedure above. Ask the students to choose their personal favorite thing to purchase from their list (or add to it) that will benefit the whole class, the whole school or the community. “If we had some money and wanted to be philanthropists, what do you think we should purchase for our school (or neighborhood or community)?”

  • Tell each student to draw a picture/poster of that favorite thing that would benefit people at the school or in the community. By drawing the picture they are “casting a vote” so their picture should be attractive and persuasive. It may include labels and text as fits their ability.

  • After ten minutes of drawing, ask the students to talk about their pictures with partners or in small groups. Save the pictures for the next lesson and then hang the pictures in the room for a few days.


  • Teacher observation of student participation in the class discussion and drawing assignment.
  • Optional: Use the rubric for posters found at http://rubistar.4teachers.org/

School/Home Connection:

Give students the assignment of asking their families to help them name companies that earn money and use some of their money selflessly to meet a need in the community —for the common good.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

See Attachment One, Resources for All for further online resources related to money.

Bibliographical References:

  • Fuller, Matthew. Smart Little Saver. Matthew Fuller. ISBN: 0967584906

  • Halperin, Wendy Anderson. Once Upon a Company: A True Story. New York: Orchard Books, 1998. ISBN: 0-531-33089-3 (Out of print, but available at some libraries)

  • Lewis, E. B. My Rows and Piles of Coins. Clarion Books, 1999. ISBN: 039571861

  • Murphy, Stuart J. Lemonade for Sale. Scott Foresman, 1998. ISBN:0064467155

  • Murphy, Stuart J. The Penny Pot. Harper Trophy, 1998. ISBN:0064467171

Lesson Developed By:

Sandra Shirton
Battle Creek Public Schools
McKinley School
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Perry Heppler
Lakeshore Public Schools
Hollywood Elementary
Stevensville, MI 49127


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Resources for All

Assessment Students Parents Teachers

Simple lessons followed by a quiz in the following areas: Making Spending Decisions, Spending Plans, Earning Money and What is Money.
Play a game called “Cash Puzzler.” Assemble realistic-looking bills that have been cut into pieces.


When your children first get allowance, don't be surprised if they want to go and immediately spend it. Allowance provides a guided opportunity to learn about prioritizing, saving, and impulse spending. Discussion and guidance around small amounts of money give them their first exposure to setting financial goals.

This material may be purchased by teachers to use as part of a curriculum on money management skills. It is, perhaps, best suited for high school students, although teachers of younger grade levels may find some of the materials useful.
Play some games for kids under 12.
Welcome to the CIBC SmartStart™ Program. Information for teaching your children from ages 5-8 about money.

A simple rhyme for learning the values of the coins..

From teaching with coupons to creating a piggybank, help your child learn the value of money. Then, find ways to save for your child's future.
Search this site for a rubric to assess student performance on creating a poster for any topic. This may be used with Lessons Two and Four.

Here is a game for practicing the skill of making change. Students are given the price and the amount given. They select the coins to determine their change.
This is an exciting introduction to money. Students read Benny's Pennies by Pat Brisson. During rug time, the students will recreate the story and discuss how they would spend their money. This would be good to use along with sharing or gift-giving themes.

This site can help teachers create rubrics for assessing student performance on writing a friendly letter. This may be used with Lesson Four.


This lesson is such a neat way for kids to use the Internet to practice skills online.

This is a great site full of math activities to do with children. Check out the other activities related to money by browsing the table of contents.

This site includes nine different units and activities that are great for history of money and reinforcement of skills.
A site that allows teachers to create their own quiz and it’s free.
kids/ index.cfm?

This site from the National Treasury includes games. Especially fun is coloring the quarters from different states.

This lesson explores the similarities, differences and value of the penny, nickel, dime and quarter.

Students review identifying coins and counting money.

Tips for parents about teaching children about money and investing.

Philanthropy Framework:

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