Author Archive for Bria

Teaching Money with Children’s Literature


The resources that are listed below are great examples of materials that can be used in a second grade classroom for a unit on money.  The topics range from counting coin values,  to addition and subtraction of monetary values, and comparing monetary values. Included below are books that can be used in the classroom, places to find printable materials, and other sites where students can practice their money skills.

Text Annotations

1. Let’s Find Out About Money by Kathy Barabas, illustrations by David Swann


This book about money and the U.S. Mint captivates children’s curiosity about where money comes from.  It shows the reader the process of making money and the texts and photographers are extremely realistic.

2. Matthew and the Midnight Money Van by Allen Morgan, illustrations by Michael Martchenko


This story is about a boy named Matthew who is looking for Mother’s Day gift for his mom when one night the Midnight Money Van shows up in a rainstorm of pennies.  The man who drives the van offers to give Matthew some of the money if he helps clean up the mess.  Matthew agrees and he ends up on an adventure looking for gifts to buy for his mom at the Midnight Mall.

3. If You Made a Million by David Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg


This story is a follow up to the book How Much is a Million, and explores the idea of accomplishing odd jobs and tasks in order to earn payment.  The more in depth topics such as spending and saving and the history of money itself are contrasted with the silly illustrations by Kellogg. However, the real question being answered is how much does one million dollars look like and what would it be spent on.

4. A Chair for my Mother by Vera Williams


A young girl explains how in her home is a big glass jar where her mother places all the coins that she receives in tips and her grandmother places all of her savings from a day at the market.  The money in this jar is going to be spent on a beautiful armchair because the rest of their furniture burned up in a fire.  When the jar is full, the family rolls the coins in wrappers and exchanges them for bills before heading out on their shopping trip.

5. My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel, illustrated by E.B. Lewis


Saruni is a little boy who wants to buy a bicycle to help his mother carry food back and forth from the marketplace.  He works for his mother in the marketplace and saves his money for a long time.  This book touches on the savings of money and goal- setting.  Young children will be able to identify with the main character and his wish to own something of such high value, like a bicycle.

Web Annotations

  • Piggy Bank – This game gives the students the sale price and the amount of money paid for the imaginary item.  The students then must fill in how many dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies the person would receive back in change.  At the beginning of the game the student can choose the difficulty level and the country's currency that they would be using.
  • Create- A- Coin – This game allows students to create their own coin.  He or she can design what letter they want the coin to have on it, what picture is in the middle of the coin, the shape of the coin, and the lettering inside the coin.  The student only has to click and drag the tools for making the coin onto the workspace.
  • Coin Quiz – This website gives students two different examples of coins and the student has to choose which amount of coins matches the amount given to the student in number form.  The pictures on the site are of real coins and are colored either silver or bronze.  If the student answers the question correctly another question pops up but if they answer wrong they have the opportunity to do the problem again.
  • Matching Number Value to Word Value – This interactive website displays 16 boxes, half with a written number value such as $.31 and half with the written word value such as thirty- one cents.  The directions ask the student to match the number value with the correct word value.  When the student makes a correct match the two boxes are filled with another color to show that they have already been used.  If the student does not make a correct match nothing happens at all.  There are options on the side of the board that allow the student to change the size of the font in the boxes, to show the answers, and to restart the game.
  • Falling Money – This is a colorful game that has students click on amounts of money as they fall from the top of the screen.  The student is given a total amount of money and when the money figures fall, the students have to click on the numbers in order to add them up inside the piggy bank.  When the student gathers enough money to match the amount given a new amount appears and the piggy bank on the side has a green line at the bottom indicating that the money is increasing in the bank.

Additional Resources

  • Money Review Power Point – This is a downloadable power point that gives teachers a handful of review questions including amounts of money in picture form that the students must choose what number value it is, addition and subtraction of money amounts, and word problems containing amounts of money.
  • Printable Money Templates – This is a link to multiple printable money templates that teachers can use in the classroom.  The templates have pictures of real bills and coins and there are a handful of bills and coins on each sheet.  If laminated, this money could be reused in the classroom.
  • Money Worksheets – This is a great site for printable worksheets on coin addition, money words problems, and counting money.  At the top of the page the site give the option to have the worksheets in U.S. dollars, British currency, or Euros.  Each of the worksheets is just a page long and some of them are more difficult than others.

Teaching History with Children’s Literature: O is for Old Dominion


O is for Old Dominion, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards, is a wonderful children’s story that outlines major historical figures and historical sites across the state of Virginia.  The story also highlights other aspects of the state such as beaches, universities, cities, and natural resources.  Each page of this story contains a short, rhyming text in the middle of the page as well as a longer text that goes into more detail on the outside of each page.  O is for Old Dominion is beautifully illustrated by Troy Howell and each of his illustrations appropriately depicts the alphabet letter described on the page.  At the end of the story there is a fifteen question quiz about Virginia facts from the story.

  • “E is for the Emanicpation Oak where they read out Lincoln’s law, saying slaves and their descendents could walk through freedom’s door.” (pg. 6)
  • “R is for John Rolfe, who made Pocahontas his wife.  She changed her name to Rebecca and enjoyed colonial life.” (pg. 24)
  • “Which military general had to choose whether to lead the North or the South in the Civil War?  Which side did he eventually lead?” (pg. 35)

Curriculum Connections:

O is for Old Dominion is a great way to introduce students to a unit on the state of Virginia and it’s history.  The story defines the civil war, military and government leaders in Virginia history, geographical regions of Virginia and colonial sites in Virginia.  Pamela Duncan Edwards makes great connections with the Virginia state SOLs VS.2, VS.3, and VS.10 in Virginia Studies which have students demonstrate knowledge of physical geography and native peoples both past and present, demonstrate knowledge of the first permanent English settlement in America and demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics.

Additional Resources:

  • These activities engage the students in the ways the Powhatan indians survived: fishing, farming, and hunting.  Students are taught that almost everything these indians did revolved around nature.
  • This lesson plan allows students to locate the state of Virginia on a map, as well as the capital, and their hometown.  Students will also observe pictures of the city of Richmond and learn about the governor of the state.
  • This map- making procedure highlights the four regions of Virginia and has the students outline each region on their own map.  They are: Tidewater, Piedmont, Ridge and Valley, and Appalachian Plateau.

General Information:
Book: O is for Old Dominion
Author: Pamela Duncan Edwards
Illustrator: Troy Howell
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: September 2005
Pages: 40
Grade Range: K- 3
ISBN: 9781585361618

Teaching Civics with Children’s Literarture: D is for Democracy


D is for Democracy, written by Elissa Grodin, is a creative alphabet story that highlights principle facts about our nation’s government, our rights as citizens in America, and important individuals who have made a difference in the history of our nation.  On each page there is a short text which reflects the letter of the alphabet as well as a beautiful illustration by Victor Juhasz.  On the side of each page there is a more in depth explanation about the topic described in the shorter text.  The short text gives a brief defintion of a term to the readers while making it fun to read with whitty, rhyming sentences.  At the end of the story there is a brief section where young readers are given suggestions as to how to become an active citizen in our democracy.

  • “E is for Elections- We’re guaranteed this right.  It often gets exciting counting votes all night.” (pg. 8 )
  • “S is for the Senate that helps communicate the needs of all the people from every single state.” (pg. 25)
  • “Ask family members if they know the three R’s of being a good citizen: the Right to have and express your own opinion, Respect for other peoples’ rights, and the Responsibility to protect the rights of every citizen.” (pg. 35)

Curriculum Connections:

D is for Democracy would be a great introduction to a unit on government.  Many of the vocabulary words used in a government lesson or unit are found in this story so reading some of these terms would help familiarize students with their definitions.  The story also portrays many influential people in our nation’s history so it would benefit the students to know who they are and what their contributions were.  D is for Democracy would work hand- in- hand with Virginia SOLs 2.10, 3.10, and 3.11 for civics in which students recognize the responsibilities of a good citizen, the importance of government, and the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation of a republican form of government.

Additional Resources:

  • This lesson plan takes students on a tour of their school and forces them to take a good look at the rules that are enforced.  They then compare these rules to the “rules” built into the U.S. Constitution.
  • In this activity, students learn about the landmark First Amendment case Tinker vs. Des Moines.  They read about it, reflect on the case, and then act out the case during class.
  • Students will make a Class Citizenship Tree in this lesson by completing the sentence, “I can help others by doing…”  After compiling a class list of good citizenship, each student picks an act that he or she will complete over the next couple weeks.

General Information:
Book: D is for Democracy
Author: Elissa Grodin
Illustrator: Victor Juhasz
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2004
Pages: 40
Grade Range: 3- 6
ISBN: 9781585362349

Teaching Geography with Children’s Literature: Mapping Penny’s World


Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy is a children’s story about a little girl named Lisa who maps out the places she likes to go with her dog Penny.  She and Penny map out her bedroom, the backyard where Penny hides her toys, the neighborhood, and even places around the world where Penny might like to go.  The maps that Lisa create include the cardinal directions, a key of images found on the map, a title, and a scale for measuring the distances on the map.  The illustrations of the maps are very colorful and they are all displayed from a birds- eye view.

  • “On this map, some of the symbols stand for the goodies she has hidden outside. The rest of the symbols represent the fence, table, and other things that are supposed to be out there.” (pg. 11)
  • “Maps are good for giving directions.  Suppose Penny’s friend Maxine wants to come over.  You could say, ‘Go out your back door, turn right by the trash cans, crawl under the gap in the wooden fence (watch out for the big orange cat!)…’ ” (pg. 13)
  • “The map’s scale shows the real distances in the park.  According to the map, the distance between point A and point B is two- tenths of a mile.” (pg. 20)

Curriculum Connections

This story would be a great way to introduce young students to the skills of map making.  Mapping Penny’s World provides wonderful illustrations of maps which are labeled with all the key elements.  Loreen Leedy also portrays simple, everyday examples of different places that children could map on their own.  This story would be useful when teaching Virginia SOLs 1.4, 1,5, and 2.6 in  geography in which students will develop map skills by recognizing basic map symbols, construct a simple map of a familiar area, and constructing a simple map using a title, legend and compass rose.

Additional Resources

  • This activity allows students to work on their own to create a map of the school yard and directions to a certain place.  After the students are done they exchange their map with another student and each student must use their new map to get to the location that is given.
  • This brief demonstration of peeling an orange provides children with an explaination as to how a map of the is not 100% accurate because the world is round.
  • This lesson plan focuses on political maps and what cities are found on political maps.  Students will discover different size cities on a map, as well as different features of cities that are represented on the map.

General Information
Book: Mapping Penny’s World
Author: Loreen Leedy
Illustrator: Loreen Leedy
Publisher: Owlet Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 2003
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K- 3
ISBN: 9780805072624

Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime


You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime is a children’s story by Harriet Ziefert which involves a little boy named Pete who learns to save money in order to buy a small dinosaur from Harry’s Store.  Pete learns that it takes time and effort to earn the money he wants to spend.  The book illustrates Pete laying all of his coins face- down on the table in order for him to properly count the number of change he has in his bank.  By the end of the story Pete realizes that the less he spends, the more he can save for a future shopping trip.

  • “Pete’s bank is almost empty now.  He puts it on a shelf.  He has a brand- new dinosaur and thirty cents total wealth.” (pg. 6)

  • ” ‘You’ll get two dollars,; ” says Dad, ‘if you clean the yard.  Then you can start to save again.  The work is not too hard.’ ” (pg. 9)

  • “Pete makes a tough decision.  Dad’s waiting at the door.  He chooses Stegasaurus- and won’t spend any more.” (pg. 20)

Curriculum Connections
You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime would be extremely useful to read to students as an introduction to a unit on spending and saving.  It reviews the idea of buying an item in a store, as well as saving money over a period of time in order to have a greater amount to spend later on.  These ideas connect with the Virginia SOLs K.7, 1.8, and 1.9 in Economics which explain that people have to work to earn money, have to make choices because they cannot have everything they want, and that people save money for the future to purchase goods and services.

Additional Resources

  • This lesson plan looks at the story Money, Money, Honey Bunny and has the students focus on what good and services are being exchanged.

  • This lesson teaches students the idea of opportunity cost and what has to be given up in order to buy something else.

  • An imaginary trading post is produced in this lesson plan where students have a certain amount of goods and services they can exchange between each other.

General Information
: You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime
Author: Harriet Ziefert
Illustrator: Amanda Haley
Publisher: Blue Apple Books
Publication Date: may 2003
Pages: 32
Grade Range: K- 2
ISBN: 978- 1929766819

Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: Weather Forecasting


Weather Forecasting by Gail Gibbons is a story that outlines the different weather patterns for each season as well as highlights the different jobs and tools involved in weather forecasting.  At the beginning of each season, Gibbons displays a variety of vocabulary words that relate to the type of weather that is typical for the season.  The illustrations also portray various tools that are used inside the National Weather Service and there are detailed labels as to the functions of each of these tools.  Gibbons also draws the reader’s attention to different types of clouds, specific storms such as hurricanes and tornados, and professionals who rely on the weather forecast everyday.


  • “The humidity is figured by reading the dew point and temperature to find the amount of moisture in the air.” (pg. 4)

  • “There are thousands of weather stations and each one reports to the nearest central office.  When the immediate weather forecaster has all the hourly statistics, he sends them by computer to his central office.” (pg. 6)

  • “Outside the weather station the hourly readins are taken.  Visibility is clear and the clouds are white and puffy in the sky.  They are cumulus, or fair- weather, clouds.” (pg. 12)

Curriculum Connections:

Weather Forecasting is a story in which children can relate their own knowledge of weather conditions to what is written in the book.  Some of the information children may know, while other information such as the work produced at the National Weather Service and the broadcasting aspect of the weather, they may not know about.  This allows the students to begin thinking about the behind- the- scenes work of the weatherman they see on television.  The story covers the Virignia Science SOL 2.6 in which students investigate and understand basic types, changes, and patterns of weather as well as the uses and importance of measuring and recording weather data.  Weather Forecasting also touches on the Virginia Science SOL 4.6 in which students investigate how weather conditions and phenomena occur and can be predicted using meteorological tools.

Additional Resources:

  • This CanTeach lesson plan sets aside time during the day for students to observe and draw different types of clouds they see outside and label the types of clouds they see.

  • This lesson plan allows students to focus on how humans depend on their natural environment and how weather affects their every day life.  Students also use the concept of listing pro’s and con’s about living in a place different from their own with changing weather patterns.

  • Discovery Education helps familiarize students with story weather, lightning, and the electrical charges inside a cloud.  Students will use simple objects to form these charges and observe what happens to objects surrounding the charge.

General Information:
Book: Weather Forecasting
Author: Gail Gibbons
Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Publication Date: March 1993
Pages: 32
Grade Range: 2nd- 4th
ISBN: 9780689716836

Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Earth, Fire, Water, Air


Earth, Fire, Water, Air by Mary Hoffman and Jane Ray is a children’s story designed to tell the tales of the four elements of life through mythical pictures and a varitey of examples of each element.  In the story, Hoffman personifies Earth as a sort of mother to all human beings and animals.  Fire is displayed in the book as a sort of feared phenomenom as well as a symbolic tool for human customs. Hoffman explains how vital water is to human beings as well as the creatures of the sea while again, portraying water in some mythilogical customs.  At the end of the story, air is coupled with the ideas of wheather, birds,  constellations and the ozone layer.  Overall, Hoffman writes about an overwhelming amount of information with whimsical illustrations to keep the reader engulfed in the story.


  • “All the food that people eat either grows from the soil or comes from animals, which themselves rely on the earth to provide their food.” (pg. 15)

  • “When fire is out of control, it can be the most terrifying of the four elements.  Forest fires that rage wildly leave nothing in their path.” (pg. 32)

  • “Human beings are made up of nearly three- quarters water.  Earth, our planet, has twice as much water as land.” (pg. 46)

  • “Butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and ladybugs all live a very short life compared with people, and they spend most of it on wing.” (pg. 69)

Curriculum Connections:

Earth, Fire, Water, Air is a great story to grab student’s attention and really get them thinking about all the aspects of science.  This book covers a vast area of science information such as people, animals, and the environment.  At the end of each element section there is a page that focuses on conservation of that element and environmental awareness of the future.  This story fullfils the Virginia SOL 2.4 for the second grade in which students understand that plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes in their life cycles.  Also, Virginia SOL 3.4 for the third grade in which students investigate the behavioral and physical adaptations that allow animals to respond to life needs.

Additional Resources:

  • This short lesson from Teacher’s World allows students to use fun materials, to be creative and to follow the adaptations of animals and how their adaptations help them survive.

  • This task provides students with instructions on how to create their own terrarium where they can grow plants, moss, and other vegetation.

  • This lesson on the Water Cycle provides students with the opportunity to observe what happens to water sealed in a container for a period of time and what steps of the water cycle are involved.

General Information:

Book: Earth, Fire, Water, Air
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Jane Ray
Publisher: Penguin Group Inc.
Publication Date: September 1995
Pages: 76
Grade Range: 2nd- 6th
ISBN: 9780525454205

Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Hot as an Ice Cube

Hot as an Ice Cube

Hot as an Ice Cube, by Philip Balestrino, is a children’s story that introduces physical science concepts through the use of  simple language and age- appropriate illustrations by Tomie de Paola.

This short story explores real- life activities which involve heat and the physical changes of certain liquids and solids.  An in-depth explanation is given as to why temperature changes occur and how this effects the molecules that are contained inside each and every object in our world.  Each of the definitions in the story is followed by an explanation of a everyday object that goes through a physical change.  The illustrations provided in the story have limited color and capture the ideas presented in the written text which help students visualize the new science concepts. “Things are made of molecules just the way a sand castle is made of grains of sand, except molecules are much smaller.” (pg. 10)

Curriculum Connections:

Hot as an Ice Cube can be used as an introduction to a unit on Matter in order to familiarize students with some of the science vocabulary that will be used throughout the course of the lesson.  This story can be directly applied to Virginia SOL 2.3 for the second grade in which students will investigate and understand basic properties of solids, liquids, and gases.  This also involves grasping the concept of changes in matter from one state to another such as condensation, evaporation, melting, and freezing.

Additional Resources:

  • This simple lesson plan allows the students to conduct an experiment in order to observe hot and cold water molecules and their movements.
  • Here is another hands- on lesson for students to be able to make their own physical and chemical changes to a piece of paper. This lesson also provides the students with multiple examples of other physicals and chemical changes.
  • This group activity helps students to map examples of elements of physical changes and use this diagram for a future quiz on the material.

General Information:
Book: Hot as an Ice Cube
Author: Philip Balestrino
Illustrator: Tomie de Paola
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date: October 1971
Pages: 35
Grade Range: 1st – 3rd
ISBN: 978-0690404159

Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: How Tall How Short How Faraway

How Tall How Short How Faraway

How Tall, How Short, How Faraway by David A. Adler is a children’s story designed to inform it’s readers about the different types of measurement and how they originated. How Tall, How Short, How Faraway displays units of measure by comparing the lengths to body parts such as fingers, arms, and feet. The illustrations in the book display different body parts that relate to the different measurements of both the customary and the metric systems.  Adler engages the students in hands- on activities throughout the book, asking the reader to “stand straight, with your back against the wall” and measure his or herself using units of measure of ancient Egypt.  Adler provides examples of everyday activities where measurement is used and accompanies these descriptions with bright, vibrant illustrations.

Curriculum Connections
This children’s story would be great as an anticipatory guide for a math or science lesson in measurement in order to provide the students with background knowledge of how systems of measurement were created as well as refreshing the knowledge they may already have of some of the units of measurement such as inches, centimeters, and feet.  How Tall How Short How Faraway emphasizes Virginia SOL 1.1 for the first grade in which students use tools to enhance observations, length is measured using standard and non- standard units, and simple experiments are used to answer questions.

Additional Resources

  • This lesson  forces the students to move around the classroom and measure a handful of items and then return to their seats and create a bar graph of all the items they measured.
  • These activities allow students to compare their personal foot length to that of the students around them which helps them to understand how the ancient civilizations used measurement. The students then go back back and measure exactly how long their foot is in inches and compares this measurement to that of a parnters.
  • This Teaching Today lesson plan provides students with a scavenger hunt around the classroom to find items that differ in length.  Afterwards, the students compare their items with those of their classmates.

Book: How Tall, How Short, How Faraway
Author: David A. Adler
Illustrator: Nancy Tobin
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: June 2000
Pages: 28
Grade Range: 1-4
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1632-5