Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Counting Coins - Integrating Literature

Whenever I'm planning a unit, I always take a trip to my local library (hi, Ami!) to see what gems I can find among the shelves.  I try to find a good selection of both fiction and nonfiction picture books.  These I use to both build my lessons, and enrich / support the lessons I already have in mind.  For the coins unit I found some great selections:


26 Letters and 99 Cents, by Tana Hoban.

I cannot express how much I love this author.  All of her books have minimal (usually no) text, and bright, visually interesting photographs taken from a child's perspective.  If you haven't discovered her yet, I highly recommend you go camp out in the 'H' section of the picture books next time you're at your local library and see what you can find.  This particular book, when you flip it one way, brightly displays coins alongside colorful numbers showing their value.  For example, on '10', it shows 10 pennies, 2 nickles and 1 dime.  A great read-on-your-own-and-discover book.  As a bonus, when you flip the book the other way it shows the alphabet.  Xander's already requested this side to be read to him (he really reads it to me), three times.

This book is part of a series of concept books, all of them worth checking out.  Sorting Money uses bright pictures of real kids sorting money into different like types.  The money is sorted by rough and smooth edges, by color, and also by value.  It would be a great resource to read along with the 'Sorting Coins' lesson I did a few days ago.

McMillan is another author in the style of Hoban, but he uses text and his pictures usually include children.  Jelly Beans for Sale introduces the premise that one jellybean is worth one penny (1 cent).  It features bright pictures of kids eating jellybeans, and shows how much in coins the jellybeans cost.

I thought it note worthy to add that I haven't introduced this book to Sophie yet.  She was playing tea party on the other side of the living room while I write this, and upon looking up, saw this book open beside me.  She immediately said, "Mommy, what's THAT book?", and came over to investigate.  Talk about kid friendly!  

This book has a LOT of text, but I don't intend on reading it verbatim to Sophie.  The book tells how money has been used through history and across cultures, and has lots of great illustrations.  I plan on using it for its pictures, to integrate a little Social Studies into the unit.

All of the fiction I chose were picture books about saving money.  Since we're doing this unit in conjunction with starting Sophie on an allowance, I wanted to use some picture books as springboards in discussing the ideological value of money.  I'm also pulling in a cross cultural element with these books.

This is a sweet story about a little girl and her single mom who overcome the obstacles of poverty in the big city and an apartment fire (with the help of their neighborhood), and save coins in a jar to buy a coveted, rose splattered chair.

Brother and Sister Bear treat Ma and Pa like an ATM, demanding money for video games and sweets.  Pa finally puts his foot down, and Brother and Sister turn to creative ways to earn money together, learning the value of money, saving, and hard work along the way.

Set at the end of WWII, Anna needs a new coat but her mother can't afford it.  Together they use possessions to barter for materials, eventually ending in a beautiful, new coat.

All kids identify with Alexander, a kid who sees the world from his own, egocentric viewpoint. In this installment, Alexander receives a dollar from his grandparents, and intends to save it to buy a walkie talkie.  Instead, he give in to temptation throughout the week and spends his money on other things.  

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