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Teachers: Team-taught by Julia Mason Wasson (Grade 4) and Michael Rosner (Grade 5)
Subject: English/Language Arts; Social Science

See the Slide Show
Press Coverage: KNBC-TV News
Grades: 4 and 5
School: Wonderland Elementary School
Location: North Hollywood, California

Sponsor: Bruce Miller, a local philanthropist.

Quote from the Teacher: "The presentation ceremony was unexpectedly moving.  The students were proud to see all of our bulletin boards covered with their letters and posters.  The rooms looked beautiful.  Each child met our sponsor, shook his hand, and spoke about the charity he had chosen and its importance.  Our sponsor’s pride and belief in the importance of the students’ work was rewarding to us and the parents.  We felt that this project was so worthwhile that we are planning to ask our classroom families this coming year to fundraise for sponsoring our own classes."

Overview: Julia Mason Wasson (Grade 4) and Michael Rosner (Grade 5) used this lesson plan between Thanksgiving and the end of the calendar year as "a welcome addition to the usual holiday activities." The project covers approximately three weeks, during which students research social problems which interest them, identify charities which offer programs to address those problems, investigate charities which make effective use of funds, and select the ones to which they will award their Giving Certificates. The goal is to have students follow their own interests, make independent decisions, and then make informed choices about where to make their donations. 

Follow-up Years: After the initial year funded by Bruce Miller, teachers Wasson and Rosner found ways for the kids to raise the money for Giving Classrooms themselves. In 2007 and 2008, they successfully held "Lemon Aid for Charities" stands. Parents also helped organize speakers from different nonprofit organizations to speak to the students in the process of choosing their charities. The children created beautiful posters for the nonprofits they chose and wrote letters to go with their Giving Certificates. These Charitable Literacy projects were held toward the end of the school year so the children could build on what they had learned through the year and start their summers with a great feeling of accomplishment.

Teaching Materials: For copies of the lesson plans and templates created for this Giving Classroom and Charity Checks, click on any of the below:

Lesson Plans (80kb)

Sample Parent Letter (32kb)

Fourth Grade Standards (168kb)

Fifth Grade Standards (64kb)

View Other Lessons

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