Thursday, April 23, 2009

National Coin Week

It's National Coin Week... So I've got books for almost all the coins! I couldn't find anything for the quarter, so I picked up The Penny Pot, as it focuses on counting coins in general.

Brennan-Nelson, Denise.
Penny: The Forgotten Coin.
Sleeping Bear Press.

Ooooh, how I wish I had a copy of this for myself! It's an incredible book but it's only out in hardcover edition... and that isn't in my budget right now... :( . This is really one of the cutest stories I've ever read and not to mention the wealth of information that's found within the pages! There's so much to learn and so many cool activities that could be done with kids!

John and Joey are out riding bikes when John spots a penny on the floor. Joey hassles John about picking it up, claiming,
Big deal! Dad says you can't do anything with a penny these days.
John ignores the tease and not only picks the penny up, but adds it to the other treasures in his blue jeans pocket. Now, Penny's being teased by the other treasures and it's making her feel sad. To try and mask her sadness, Penny begins to relive the good times in her mind (this is where there's so much to be learned)! Being clutched in Rebecca's hand at the penny store (the days of penny candy)... Visiting funny and unusual places (inside the pocket of penny loafers)... watching the races (from the penny rides)... Before she realizes it, Penny is able to recognize that she's not like all the other treasures, as the thoughts of the Red Cross "Every Penny Counts" campaign fills her mind. And then... John and Joey need a coin to toss to see who goes first... and that's when Penny discovers her place among the treasures inside John's pocket!

Some Activities I Have Created/Imagined Based on the Book:
  • Why not open a penny store with traditional penny candies? Places like BJ's and Sam's Club still sell that kind of candy!
  • Have an "Every Penny Counts" penny drive at school and donate the funds to a local cause.
  • Give the kids a piggy bank and encourage them to bank all their pennies. This could then be used on a rainy day or saved for a special trip.
  • Find an old pair of penny loafers from a thrift shop. Insert a penny into that pocket and have kids imagine one of the funny and unusual places that Penny has visited. Have them write about this place in the form of a diary entry. Join all of the entries together and title the diary "The Adventures of Penny."
  • Rather than telling kids what E Pluribus Unum means, use it as a bonus question and have kids research what the phrase means.
  • Create a wishing well of sorts in the classroom. Allow students to throw pennies in the wishing well, but for each penny they drop, they write their wishes in the form of one paragraph using proper grammer and punctuation.
  • Another bonus question could be take from the book as well. "The Lincoln Memorial was added to the back of the penny to mark Lincoln's 150th birthday. Do you know what year that was?" Have students do math to figure out what year would have been celebrating Lincoln's 150th birthday.

Morrison, Taylor.
The Buffalo Nickel.
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Guided Reading Level: S

This book is very informative, as it shares information that I didn't even know about until reading! Did you know that new coins can only be minted every 25 years? Or the work that goes into making a press for a new coin? My gosh, no wonder they're only minted every 25 years! While the book focuses on all of this, the story behind the Buffalo Nickel is really what the book is about!

Creator of the Buffalo Nickel, James Fraser is the focus of this book, as it follows his life - childhood through his adult years and the events leading up to his creation of the buffalo nickel. During his childhood, James lived with his parents and little sister in the Dakota region, facing herds of buffalo and Indians, the ultimate plan behind the Buffalo Nickel.

I think this book might seem a little distant to children, as many of them probably have no experience with or have ever seen a buffalo nickel. I don't even think I've seen one myself! If you could show students a buffalo nickel, they might express more interest in this book and it would be worthwhile, because it is a great story!

Lesson Plans/Reading Activities

Ziefert, Harriet.
You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime.
Blue Apple Books.

This is a great book for teaching kids about saving money by using a bank.
Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink.
Clink, clink, clinkity!
Money saved in a bank
makes your brain think-thinkity!
Do you have kids who want every new toy or game? Or always want candy from the store? Why not get them interested in math and money by encouraging them to save change and then have that be their spending money once a month for shopping trips. They'll learn great skills, such as the worth of money, hard work and not to mention, learn counting money at the same time! This book is perfect for such a plan to make shopping trips more educational and not all about the kiddies!

Other Activities to use with You Can't Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime:

Murphy, Stuart J.
The Penny Pot.
HarperCollins Publishers.

Guided Reading Level: K

I'm really starting to enjoy these books that are part of the MathStart series! In this book by Stuart J. Murphy, students will have plenty of chance to practice counting coins up to fifty cents. I love these books because you can actually read the story as if it were a math problem children are trying to solve on their own. Read the story, don't show the pictures, and have the students solve the mystery on their own... Will Jessie find enough pennies in the penny pot to get her face painted (hint: she needs 11 cents)?

Jessie is at the face-painting tent at the school fair, anxiously waiting to get her face painted. The cost? Fifty cents... and Jessie only has thirty-nine cents because of that ice cream cone she bought earlier. As her friends show up to get their faces painted, they willing place their extra pennies into the "Penny Pot" so that someone in need will have the use of them. Each time, as the friends get ready to get their faces painted, they count their change (depicted as life-sized at the top of the page for readers) and deposit the extra into the "Penny Pot." Follow along as readers take this journey and practice counting money at the same time!

Lesson Plans/Reading Activities:

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


style='clear: both;' Brimful Curiosities said...

I didn't even realize that National Coin Week existed. We collected all the state coins. Fun hobby.