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Give Back and Give Thanks

Students will make a list of their interests and talents. They will use those traits to identify ways they can help others. Then they will create a plan outlining how and when to carry out their ideas.

PROCESS: 

  1. Create a sign that features the phrase, "It is better to give than to receive." As a class, discuss what this phrase means. Encourage students to share their opinions about how the phrase relates to the article. (Possible response: Yes, the turkey got to live, but both Abraham Lincoln and his son, Tad, gained a lot from this experience, too. Tad argued for his principles and won. President Lincoln made his son happy, which was extremely important to him.)
  2. Guide students to recognize that people don't just give things. They give their time. They give advice. They give whatever they can to make other people's lives better. In doing so, they enrich their own lives. That is what Thanksgiving is all about.
  3. Instruct students to take out a sheet of paper. Challenge them to list ways they could help others. If students struggle to come up with ideas, encourage them to think about their talents and interests. Guide them to recognize that giving back doesn't have to be something grand, like collecting food for hurricane victims. It could be as simple as helping a classmate understand how to solve a confusing math problem.
  4. Using their lists of talents and interests as a guide, challenge students to identify ways they could help the school, community or other students in the classroom. Then instruct them to create a plan outlining how and when they will carry out their ideas.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their ideas with the class. Encourage them to explain how they could help others and what it means to them when they do.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
As a class, identify one way that students could work together to help the school or community. Using students' lists of talents and interests as a guide, create a plan that allows each student to participate in a meaningful way. Then put the plan into action. Guide students to recognize that help comes in many different forms and can be delivered in many different ways.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into pairs. Using their lists of talents and interests as a guide, challenge partners to identify one way each person could help the other. Instruct partners to work together to create a plan outlining how they will accomplish their goals. Then encourage them to put the plan into action. Guide students to recognize that help comes in many different forms and can be delivered in many different ways.
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to identify one way it could help the school or community. Challenge students to create a plan that incorporates each group member's unique talents and interests. Then encourage them to put their plans into action. Guide students to recognize that regardless of your talents or situation, it's always possible to help someone else.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Using their lists of talents and interests as a guide, challenge partners to identify one way each person could help the other. Then challenge them to identify a way they could pool their talents to anonymously help someone else. Instruct partners to work together to create a plan outlining how they will accomplish their goals. Then encourage them to put the plan into action. Guide students to recognize the benefits of giving back, whether or not you are recognized for the good deeds you have done.