Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Hundred Penny Box

Today is September 21, which is when we celebrate Peace One Day. At our school we are collecting Pennies for Peace. It got me thinking about a lesson that another teacher lent me on the Newbery honor book, The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis.

The premise of this book is that every penny tells a story. A hundred year old woman has a hundred pennies and uses them to remind her of something special that happened every year of her life. The teacher lent me her large beat-up wooden box, small cloth bag, and a hundred pennies. She had also made labels for every penny (they don't actually have to be mint marked from 1910 to 2010, they can be of any year; to have a hundred is the point). Each decade was printed in a different color and she laminated the labels, like this:



And the ten little paper labels for that decade were all printed in blue, etc. She must have laid out the hundred pennies, each according to its label, to show just how many years the lady had been alive. Then she had the children bring in the number of pennies as they were old, and make a card for each with a memory (like a personal timeline, something we are required to do each year). Also, the children were invited to find an older friend or relative, give them a penny with a certain year stamped on it, and ask them to write up a memory from that year.

The idea is lovely so I wanted to pass it along. If you are counting to 100 with your child, or skip counting by tens, you might like the color coded label idea in and of itself. Sorting the color cards by decade, and then arranging them in number order within that decade, is less daunting than sorting from 1900 to 2000 with no help.

In our house we have dime books and every year the children get a dime (mint marked for that year) at the bottom of their Christmas stocking. As they fill in the books, they have one dime from each year of their lives, marked with that date.

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