Be Good for Goodness Sake!

November 23rd 2011

The internet has facilitated unprecedented opportunities to help others in ways we could only have dreamed of in the past – community building, disaster relief, sharing and caring have all benefitted from people who choose to use technology to better the lives of others.

While it’s easy to be self-centered online, and a minority chooses to be mean online, most people are socially responsible, making positive connections, and contributing in thousands of different ways to collectively improving our world.

Help students understand how small thoughtful actions taken online (and in person) can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others

For the Press

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You may have noticed that the number of stores sending out holiday advertisements skyrocketed the day after Halloween. Expect these ads to keep increasing until all last minute shopping has been exhausted as retailers try to squeeze out every possible dollar in holiday revenue. Chances are you will be among the hoard of consumers taking advantage of online deals.

Last year, 30 million people used the internet to buy holiday presents including 48% of teens aged 12-17 . This year analysts expect even more people to shop online, including 15% who are expected to do so through a mobile device . But whether you are shopping for others, or for yourself knowing how to get a great deal takes a lot more than just looking at the price tag.

This lesson is based on two news items, a new collaboration to help classrooms get needed supplies, and the story of how truckers haul rescued pets to new homes , and will help students understand how small thoughtful actions taken online (and in person) can make a tremendous difference in the lives of others.

Grades - Appropriate for Grades 6-9

Time Required - 30-45 minutes

Key Concepts

  • Making financial transaction from an unsecured device – computer, laptop, phone, iPad or other tablet, etc. – places users at risk of financial identity theft.

  • Every single time we interact with others online we choose whether to make positive connections and demonstrate digital citizenship, or to take actions that tear down the health and wellbeing of ourselves and others.

  • There are thousands of ways to benefit others online.

  • By giving to, and thinking of, others you increase your own happiness and feelings of self-worth, and create a positive feedback loop.

Materials & Resources

Equipment Needed None
Full News Article A new collaboration to help classrooms get needed supplies

Truckers haul rescued pets to new homes
Lesson Plan Use the Internet’s Power for Good
Lesson Presentation Companion Presentation


- The act of benefiting others, often done through a donation of time, money, or by providing other assistance
– a person who donates their time, money, talents, or reputation to benefit others
Non-profit organization, a charity or Foundation
– organizations dedicated to improving the lives of others

Learning Activities

Learn about youth philanthropists:

Give the whole class an assignment to read up on one young philanthropist named Alexandra Flynn Scott who became a dedicated philanthropist when she was just 4 years old. She had cancer and decided to make a lemonade stand and give the money she earned to help her hospital research cancer. By the time she died at the age of 8, she had raised over $1 million dollars to help find a cancer cure, and she inspired so many others that Alex’s Lemonade Stand lives on through others.

Or, talk briefly about Alexandra and her lemonade stand and ask students to write a short paragraph about a young philanthropist that they know.

Take on a classroom online service project

It could be donating to a project on, or for a cause that is particularly relevant to your students.

Watch a Video

Watch the video that accompanies the LAUSD: $4 Million Grant Gives Parents And Starbucks Customers Power To Fund Teacher Projects article to understand how DonorsChoose works and why the First Lady and others so highly recommend this form of giving. (The image links to the video).

  Learning Activities

Professional Development

This lesson looks into ways to increase the positive health and wellbeing in students by engaging them in positive connections with their peers, community and digital community. You can leverage this lesson to increase your own learning by gaining a deeper understanding of how to incorporate citizenship, ethics, kindness, and service into your lessons.

Learn more about the benefits of volunteering: :

Learn more about the mechanics and current trends in giving:

  Professional Development

Parent Tips

This week in class we’ve discussed how each person can make a difference online by using the Internet’s power for good. We looked at two current news articles about how the internet is facilitating philanthropy, and how real people are donating their time, talents, or money to help others.

We discussed research that found evidence that people who reach out to help others through service actually become happier and have a stronger feeling of self-worth and well-being. We pointed out that the opposite is also true - that every time we tear someone down or are cruel we reduce our own happiness and lower our own self-esteem. And we discussed how actions your student takes today create who they will be, and how they will think of themselves, tomorrow.

At the end of the class each student was given the challenge to find a way to perform a random act of kindness to someone or some organization online within the next 4 weeks. This assignment does not need to cost anything. Please help them thoughtfully think of ways they can meaningfully contribute to the digital society.

  Parent Tips
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