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

“Getting our Paws into the Cause”
Lesson 3
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Lesson
Handouts
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework

Purpose:

In this lesson the learners will identify a specific local, state, and/or national animal welfare organization. They will research their identified organization and develop a planned intervention strategy to help persuade others to take up the “cause(s)” of this group/organization using a letter-writing style or other advocacy type of their choice.

Duration:

Two 45 to 50 minute class periods

Objectives:

The learner will:

  • state the need for advocacy.
  • select, research, and identify “a cause” of a local, state, and/or national animal welfare group.
  • develop a persuasive, effective intervention addressing “the cause” of the identified local, state, and/or national animal welfare group utilizing editorial letter-writing as the advocacy strategy (or other type of advocacy).
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their advocacy strategy based on self and group assessment. 
     

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.

The learners will use their growing understanding of the nature and necessity of advocacy to seek support for a “cause." In this lesson, editorial letter-writing is given as an example of what students may choose to do. The learners will supply information to their peers and seek their support for animal welfare cause(s).

Materials:

  • Learner copies of Attachment One: Advocacies
  • Learner copies of Attachment Two: Poem: Not to Hurt…
  • Learner copies of Attachment Three: Animal Welfare Groups: Editorial/Letter Writing Rubric
  • Learner copies of Attachment Four: Editorial/Letter Writing Rubric
Handout 1
Advocacies
Handout 2
A Poem: Not to Hurt…
Handout 3
Animal Welfare Groups/Organizations
Handout 4
Animal Welfare Groups: Editorial/Letter Writing Rubric

Instructional Procedure(s):

Day One:
Anticipatory Set:
Prior to the start of this class, reproduce enough copies of
Attachment One: Advocacy Scenarios so that when cut apart each learner will receive one of the scenarios.
Randomly hand each learner one of the scenarios.
Review advocacy (types and styles) and common good from Lessons One and
Two.
Assign areas in the room for each group to meet. Have the learners go to their assigned number area with their scenario, read their scenario and respond as a group, to the questions posed at the end of each scenario.  Have each group identify a spokesperson to read their group’s scenario and responses to the questions. Allow the whole class time to discuss each scenario. Be sure that the learners understand that often advocacies are prompted by 1) a sense of injustice, 2) by individuals or groups who are passionate about their cause, usually because they have encountered the injustice, 3) by individuals or groups who are compassionate; they feel that someone needs to speak for those who have “no voice.”

  • While still in their groups, distribute Attachment Two: A Poem to students and have them read the poem and respond to the questions on the handout.
  • After an appropriate amount of time to complete this group assignment, have a spokesperson from each group read their responses to the questions and allow for group discussion.
  • Write the term animal welfare on the display board and take a minute to review its meaning. Tell the learners that they will be given an opportunity to speak for animals that have no voice. They are being asked to select and advocate for an animal welfare cause using the editorial/letter writing method of advocacy. (Students may choose to use a different strategy such as creating a presentation from their research, creating a pamphlet, and/or publishing a newspaper-style article in the school newspaper. See the Extensions below.)
  • Assess prior knowledge about editorials. Lead the learners to an understanding that editorials are writings intended to provide information as well as a point of view. They are often written in a way to persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view and/or take action.
  • Share this scenario with the learners: The local newspaper has asked for informational and persuasive editorial “Call to Action” letters to be placed in the newspaper encouraging its readership to become more involved in animal welfare issues.  As a class we have agreed to respond to this request. (Prior arrangements with the local newspaper to have selected letters actually published would add authenticity to this assignment.) 
  • Have the learners use the Internet and/or print resources to research local, national or international animal welfare organizations. They should select and plan a persuasive editorial to encourage the readers to become involved in the organization they have chosen.
  • Distribute copies of Attachment Three:  Animal Welfare Groups: Editorial/Letter Writing Rubric review this rubric, respond to any questions, and instruct the learners to use this rubric to guide their “Call for Action” editorial letter writing.
  • Assign a due date for the completion of the research and the “Call to Action” editorial letters.

Day Two:

  • On the day that the “Call to Action” editorial letters are due, have each learner take 2-4 minutes to share their written editorial letters (or other advocacy project).
  • If part of the regular language arts curriculum writing process, allow 1-2 minutes for a peer-review and/or question/answer time. Tell the “class audience” that they need to be sure that the proposed advocacy is clearly established and that the letter contains persuasive qualities. 
  • Following the readings, peer review and the overall discussion of the proposed letter, tell the learners that they will need to make the adjustments that they choose as a result of the peer review and hand these letters to you prior to or at the start of the next class period in order to get full credit. 
  • Conclude this unit by having the learners engage in a dialogue that reflects their understanding of these two quotes:
    Ben Franklin’s quote: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”,  and
    Paulo Freire’s quote: “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

Assessment:

Learner involvement in the classroom discussions as well as the depth and accuracy of the research and an evaluation of the editorial letter writing based on Attachment Three: Editorial Letter-Writing Rubric will form the basis for the assessment of this lesson. Consideration could also be given to assessing the learner’s oral response to the two quotes: Ben Franklin’s quote: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”,  and Paulo Freire’s quote: “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
 

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

  • The learners can involve themselves in a hands-on service project with a local animal welfare organization or continue working with a state or national animal welfare organization as a letter writer, telemarketer, distributor, etc.
  • An “Animal Welfare Awareness Week” could be recognized and celebrated at the school with each learner developing a promotion display “booth” to demonstrate his/her research and be on hand to “advocate” for his/her “cause”.
     

Bibliographical References:

For additional related topics and materials see: 

 

Lesson Developed By:

Dennis VanHaitsma
Curriculum Consultant
Learning to Give

Barbara Dillbeck
Director
Learning to Give

Handouts:

Handout 1Print Handout 1

Advocacies

1) In 1977, at the age of 14, Maris Sidenstecker sparked an interest that resulted in the founding of the Save the Whales organization whose sole purpose focuses on educating the public, especially children, about marine mammals. Now worldwide and nationwide, this organization continues to disseminate information by snail mail, email, web site, Adopt-A-Whale kits, newsletters, an award winning TV public service announcement, media and radio appearances, and events. One person summing up her reason for involvement in the organization said, “Someone has to speak for those who have no voice.”
What do you think prompted this advocacy?

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 

 


2)  Candice Lightner was the organizer and founding president of this organization that began in 1980 when her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver as she walked down a suburban street in California. "I promised myself on the day of Cari’s death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead," Cari’s mom vowed. The organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) was born. Since its inception, thousands of anti-drunk driving laws have been passed.

What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 

 

3) In January, 1996, Amber Hagerman was abducted, raped, and murdered. It was later that citizens of her community learned that local law enforcement had information that might have helped locate her shortly after she was abducted, but had no means to distribute this information. The Child Alert Foundation helped to create a fully automated Alert Notification System (ANS) known as the Amber Alert to notify surrounding communities when a child was reported missing or abducted. Alerts are now being sent to radio stations, television stations, surrounding law enforcement agencies, newspapers and local support organizations all at once via pagers, faxes, emails, and cell phones and an immediate posting on the Internet for the general public to view.

What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 

 

4) Tim Collings developed and the PTA (Parent Teacher Organization) along with many other family oriented groups and organizations endorsed and continues to promote the installation and use of the v-chip device which is intended to give parents some control over what their children watch on TV.  One spokesperson for this group puts it this way, “Children are often victims of what they see and hear on TV; a captive audience unable to discern or understand what they are viewing much less able to make appropriate viewing decisions. You wouldn’t allow a child to cross a busy street without guidance yet we allow them to enter the adult world of TV without supervision.”

 
What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 

 

5) The Parent Advocacy Group, a unique nonprofit organization, was created as a response to the dire conditions found in many of America’s public schools where politics and special programs run rampant while student failure and dropout rates continue to far exceed the national average. This group lobbies for tougher standards, educational accountability, and prides itself on being the voice of the students who are often victims of teacher apathy, limited funds, and legislative red tape.

 
What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 

 


6) Members of organizations like Advocates for the Elder are particularly concerned for those older individuals in our communities. They believe in the value of aging individuals and are committed to protecting them from avoidable pain, loss of dignity and neglect. Hands-on intervention, elder abuse litigation,  political lobbying through the legislative process, and working hand-in-hand with like-minded non-profits are all strategies that are used to not only help the elderly maintain their dignity and, to the extent possible, keep their health and independence until the end of their lives, but also to increase public awareness. “Often as we age I think we deny our need for help. Sometimes with senile dementia or Alzheimer's disease we don’t even know that we need it. Someone has to be looking out for us. Someone has to speak for us,” confessed one elderly care-facility resident.


What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this advocacy?

 


 

Handout 2Print Handout 2

A Poem: Not to Hurt…

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals)
Is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.
We have a higher mission:
To be of service to them whenever they require it.
–St Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi was a strong advocate for animal welfare as early as the late 12th Century and the early 13th Century. He believed that unlike human beings, nature could not speak for itself and therefore required human beings to speak on its behalf. In his poem Not to Hurt… St. Francis spoke out against the more common thinking of the day that animals and nature were to be dominated by humankind; that humankind could treat nature as it saw fit and justify such treatment as the “nature of things.”  Such mentality has led to a careless exploitation and depletion of our world’s natural resources and in some instances to near if not complete extinction of some plants and animals.  

 


What do you think prompted this advocacy?

 

 

Why was/is it important that someone advocate for this cause?

 

 

What has been/continues to be the results of this type of advocacy?

 

 

Handout 3Print Handout 3

Animal Welfare Groups/Organizations

This listing by no means exhausts the groups/organizations that support animal welfare. You are being asked to select one of these groups/organizations or another group or organization not listed here, that you feel strongly about or would be most interested in learning more about. If you select a group or organization not listed below you will need prior approval to proceed.

Handout 4Print Handout 4

Animal Welfare Groups: Editorial/Letter Writing Rubric

Criteria:

Number of points out of /110

You have clearly stated the purpose of the Animal Welfare group you have selected

_____/20

Your editorial contains specific facts and details to support the “Call for Action” being suggested. 

_____/20

Your editorial clearly recommends an advocacy style and type for those who might wish to become involved in the activities of the group/organization. 

_____/20

Your editorial was persuasive and convincing.

_____/20

Your editorial was logically organized

_____/10

Your editorial contained no mechanical/grammatical errors.

_____/10

Your editorial followed a business letter format

_____/10

   
Total Score

_____/110

Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Advocacy-Getting the Job Done Summary

Lessons:

1.
Understanding Advocacy
2.
Understanding Effectiveness
3.
“Getting our Paws into the Cause”

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