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

Watercolor Ways
Lesson 1
From Unit: Earth Keepers
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce learners to our global community.  Learners will understand that they share the Earth with many other people and they have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth by helping care for it.


One forty-five minute class period


The learner will:

  • define stewardship as the careful and responsible management of the Earth.
  • engage in a classroom discussion about ways to be good stewards of the Earth.
  • create a visual representation displaying ideas presented.
  • share individual representations in a whole class setting.


  • Lyrics to the song “It’s A Small World” (See Bibliographic References)
  • Globe
  • The Earth and I by Frank Asch (See Bibliographic References)
  • Watercolor paints and brushes
  • White paper appropriate for painting

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Begin by singing the song, It’s A Small World with the students. Teacher should  also be holding a globe during the singing of the song to be used as a visual reference for the students. Lyrics to the song can be projected onto a screen for  student use, printed out, or written on chart paper to be tracked by the teacher depending on the reading levels of the students.  Repeat the song until students  are comfortable singing the chorus of the song.

  • The teacher should open with a discussion about the lyrics of the song. What does it mean to say “a world of laughter, tears, hopes, and fears”?  Allow learners time to reflect on this idea.  We all share the world. The same world we all call Earth is shared by everyone no matter where we live.  Because we all share the same Earth, we should all take care of the Earth. We call that Stewardship.

  • Use the globe to show some of the mountainous regions of our world.  You may also want to point out how the oceans can divide some of the continents. The purpose of the class discussion should be focused on the idea that although we may live in different places, do different things, and may look different, we all have the Earth in common.  We all share it. Together we are the world.

  • Read the story, The Earth and I by Frank Asch to the class. The child in the story takes the reader on an exploration of what the Earth has to offer and how we can help preserve it.  After reading the story, brainstorm with the class a list of ways the child was able to help care of the Earth. Tell them that these are examples of stewardship. (planting, raking, picking up trash, etc.)

  • Frank Asch was not only the author for the story, but also the illustrator.  Look back through the story and talk about the illustrations with the class. Watercolor was used to create the illustrations in this story.  Give the learners an opportunity to paint a picture, using watercolor paints to illustrate a way they could help take care of the Earth.  The teacher may choose to have the learners dictate a sentence or write their own sentence to describe the actions created in the picture.  The finished products may be displayed individually or bound together in a class book.

  • Allow time for learners to share their finished work with the class.


Assessment should be done through teacher observation of whole group discussion and assessment of the watercolor illustration. The illustration should show clearly how the learner is helping the Earth.  Learners should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding that the Earth is shared by people all around the world and that it is everyone’s responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

This unit is ideal for instruction during the observance of Earth Day.  Earth day is observed in the United States on April 22nd.  It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson.  The first official demonstration was in the spring of 1970.  Senator Nelson believed that educating people on environmental issues was the only way to change their attitudes about the environment. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement Whole group or individual exploration into the grassroots efforts of “Earth Day, Everyday” may enhance the classroom instruction and help solidify student learning. 

Bibliographical References:

Lyrics to the song “It’s A Small World" can be found at the following sites: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/smworld.htm or

http://www.songlyrics.com/disney/its-a-small-world-lyrics/ or http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/i/itsasmallworld.shtml

Asch, Frank. The Earth And I. New York, NY: Scholastic, 1994: ISBN: 0-590-89752-7

Lesson Developed By:

Tracey Fritz
Mona Shores Public Schools
Churchill Elementary
Muskegon, MI 49441


Philanthropy Framework:

Submit a Comment

Unit Contents:

Overview:Earth Keepers Summary


Watercolor Ways
Beginning At Home
The Great School Clean-Up

All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.