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

What is Philanthropy?
Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Note: The five lessons in this unit are based upon the children's trade book Gentle Annie: The True Story of a Civil War Nurse by Mary Francis Shura, Apple paperback, 1997. ISBN: 0590435000.

This book is an example of historical fiction. It chronicles the true story of Annie Etheridge, a young woman from Detroit, Michigan, who enlisted as a laundress/nurse with the Second Michigan Volunteer Regiment. As one of several young female volunteers, she was the only one who did not return home when the unit marched into battle. Beginning with the first Battle of Bull Run, she distinguished herself by nursing the wounded and dying soldiers, as well as showing great personal courage.

The book could be used for whole class instruction, or could be read to the class by the teacher. With slight modification, the lessons could be used with various other trade books about the Civil War. Most of the assessments for this unit are also related to Language Arts objectives and could be included in students' writing portfolios.


Introduce students to the term philanthropy.


One Thirty to Forty-Five Minute Class Period


The learner will:

  • explain the meaning of philanthropy as, "caring, sharing, and/or private action for the common good."
  • identify examples of philanthropy toward Annie Etheridge in the first three chapters of Gentle Annie.
  • cite and discuss examples of philanthropy that they have observed in their own lives.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

As an entire class or in small cooperative groups, students will generate a list of examples of philanthropy that they have personally observed or heard about.


  • Gentle Annie, by Mary Frances Shura (see Bibliographic References)
  • Classroom materials: Chalkboard, whiteboard, or overhead projector OR
  • Paper and pencils
Prerequisite Knowledge:
    Students will have finished reading and discussing Gentle Annie, Chapters 1-3.

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Introduce the term philanthropy by writing it on the board or overhead, saying it, and allowing students to practice saying it. Students will hypothesize definitions of the word philanthropy, without other direction. (KWL.) Record responses on the board or overhead.

  • Provide the definition of philanthropy (caring, sharing, and/or private action for the common good).

  • Small groups of students will discuss and record examples of philanthropy that they have read about. One student or all students could record their findings.

  • Small group findings will be reported to the entire class.

  • As an entire class or in small groups, students will record examples of philanthropy that they have personally observed or heard about.


The students will write a paragraph. The paragraph will need to include:

  • the definition of philanthropy in the topic sentence,
  • at least two examples of philanthropy observed by the individual student, and
  • for each example given, students must explain why he/she considers this an act of philanthropy.

  • Criteria for acceptance includes all the above, plus the class standard criteria for paragraph writing. This standard includes Paragraph Form: indent, topic sentence, supporting details, complete sentences, and correct spelling for known words.

    Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

    Students will:

    • keep a diary (calendar) of examples of philanthropy that they observe for a period of time to be determined by the teacher.
    • look for articles (in the newspaper and/or other periodicals) that describe acts of philanthropy.
    • keep a diary of their own acts of "philanthropy" for a period of time to be determined by the teacher.

    Bibliographical References:

    Shura, Mary Francis. Gentle Annie: The True Story of a Civil War Nurse. Apple paperback, 1997. ISBN: 0590435000.

    Lesson Developed By:

    Sally Engleman Cioe
    Reeths-Puffer Schools
    McMillan Elementary School
    Muskegon, MI 49445


    Philanthropy Framework:


    Anita, Teacher – Holland, MI10/24/2007 10:08:05 PM

    The students really liked studying the Civil War and thinking/discussing the ways people - both soldiers and civilians helped each other in bold and brave ways. I noticed my students started using the word "philanthropy" as it applies to ways they can give to others.

    Pam, Teacher – Holland, MI10/24/2007 10:09:11 PM

    (The positive aspect of using this lesson was) students became aware of acts they were doing that they did not consider as philanthropic before.

    Tamela, Teacher – Zeeland, MI10/24/2007 10:11:15 PM

    (The positive aspect of using this lesson was) The humorous first chapter caught the kids attention. Historical novels are a new genre. Great allignment with curriculum.

    Carol, Teacher – Northville, MI10/24/2007 10:13:12 PM

    (The positive aspect of using this lesson was) it's nice to integrate Social Studies, Reading, Writing, and Philanthropy in one unit.

    Virginia, Teacher – Montague, MI10/24/2007 10:14:25 PM

    This lesson provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of philanthropy to their own lives. This makes the learning authentic and meaningful.

    Jennifer, Educator – Hagerstown, MD1/15/2010 5:01:31 PM

    Thank you for sharing this Philanthropy lesson plan to accompany "Gentle Annie". This is an excellent resource.

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