Teaching Ideas

Helping Out - Volunteer Day

Helping Out - Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day is December 5th, and it is a great opportunity to inspire students to lend a helping hand or step up to make a difference in the world around them.

  • Create a classroom pledge of helpful things students will do this week.

  • Encourage students to think about how they can be “helpers” in their own community after watching the video book trailer for Just Help! How to Build a Better World, in which a young girl wonders every day how she can be a help to those around her.

  • Write thank you notes to volunteers at their school.

  • Watch (starting from 2:18) this Meet-the-Author Video for It's Our World, Too!: Young People Who Are Making a Difference, in which author Phillip Hoose mentions two of the young people making a difference from the book. He also touches on tips for making change, such as writing letters. Brainstorm together some other ways to build awareness and work for change.

  • Invite a volunteer to come share about what types of things volunteers help with at the school (lunch duty, parking lot monitors, library helpers, etc.)

  • Guide students with questions from this lesson plan for Generation Fix: Young Ideas for a Better World. Ask your students about their world and what problems concern them. Have them choose and write about one problem they would like to see fixed.

  • Explore titles and resources on these two curated lists:

  • Using the “Getting to Know People Who Help” section from these teaching ideas for Can We Help?: Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities as inspiration, have students research someone in their community or in the world who is a “helper”. Each student can write a paragraph about that person, along with a drawing of them on a sheet of paper and you can display them in your classroom as reminders of ways that everyone can help.

  • Give students some time to research volunteer organizations in their own community. Each student can pick one to write a brief paragraph about and share out.

  • Inspire students by listening to the Meet-the-Author Recording for Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change, in which the author asks “What do you want to do right now?” Have students write about what matters to them in the present and think about what ways young people can help while they are still kids, instead of waiting until they grow up.

  • Use Google book preview to read poems or listen to video readings of poems from Dictionary For A Better World as inspiration. Have students write their own alphabet acrostic poetry.