The Penny Pot

Title: The Penny Pot

Author: Stuart J. Murphy

Publisher: HarperCollins

SOL: 2.10 The student will
a) count and compare a collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters whose total value is $2.00 or less

Grade Level Equivalent: 2.6

Description: The Penny Pot is set at a school fair. The art teacher, Fran, is charging 50₵ per face painting. Jessie wants her face painted very badly, but is 11₵ short. Fran uses a penny pot for other students who have extra change to donate. Eventually Jessie gets enough money for her face paint and makes a decision about what she’ll have painted on her face.

Why I Chose It: This money is a great start to learning how to count coins. I would encourage my students to follow along and create coin combinations that match amounts written in the book. I think it would also be fun to have a penny pot in the classroom too, and maybe use it as a Relay for Life fundraiser or something.

Online Activities:


Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry

Title: Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry

Author: Cindy Neuschwander

Publisher: Scholastic

SOL: 3.14 The student will identify, describe, compare, and contrast characteristics of plane and solid geometric figures (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, cube, rectangular prism, square pyramid, sphere, cone, and cylinder) by identifying relevant characteristics, including the number of angles, vertices, and edges, and the number and shape of faces, using concrete models.

Grade Interest Level: 2-5- Amazon

Description: Matt and Bibi are on a trip with their family in Egypt, and end up getting trapped in a pharoah’s pyramid. They use their knowledge of three-dimensional geometric shapes to help them locate the burial chamber and find a way out.

Why I Chose It: I like how this plot links geometry with Egypt, so it crosses subjects. It also goes into more detail about the faces that make up each geometric shapes. I like that it uses the proper names for each shape, like tetrahedron, because it gets the reader more familiar with the terms.

Online Activities Resources:

House mouse, senate mouse

Author: Peter W. Barnes
Illustrator: Cheryl Barnes
Publisher: VSP Books
Year: 1996
Reading level: Grade 1 (
3.10 The student will recognize the importance of government in the community, Virginia, and the United States of America by
a) explaining the purpose of rules and laws;
b) explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken;
c) explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.

In this book, children learn about the roles of the senate and the house and the differences between each. The problem of the story is that a elementary class wants to pass a new law. Children reading the book can then learn about how this new law is passed and the process it takes.

I chose this book because of the fun rhyming words which I think will help children remember the information better. I also think it is important for kids to learn how the bills are passed. This book also does a good job of putting it down on the children’s level.

Author: Lisa Zamosky
Publisher: Teacher Created Materials

3.7 The student will explain how producers in ancient Greece, Rome, and the West African empire of Mali used natural resources, human resources, and capital resources in the production of goods and services.

Reading Level: Grade Level Equivalent – 4.9; Lexile Level – 610L; Guided Reading Level: Q

Description: This story describes the kingdom of Mali at the height of its power under King Mansa Musa. It discusses how Musa helped his empire grow in both size and culture by encouraging the arts, literature, and architecture.

Why I chose it: I chose this book because I knew that the SOL on Mali would be a difficult one to cover in elementary school, it’s hard for kids to relate to a kingdom so far away in both time and location. I thought this book did a good job making Mali relatable to young kids while going through the various characteristics that are necessary in any society in order to have a functioning nation.


Author: John Cech, Illustrator: Sharon McGinley-Nally

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Grade level: 3-5

SOL: Civics

3.12 The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and
traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and
respect for individual rights and freedoms.

Summary: Based on a true story, in this book, a grandmother tells her granddaughter a bedtime story about her journey from Russia to America during the revolution.  To the girl, the story seems magical, including gypsies and fields of butterflies, and a brave hero who journeys across the world.  In the end, the reader discovers it is the grandmother’s own story.

Why I chose it: The story is beautifully written and illustrated.  The illustrations have a russian style with bold colors, and I think it would be a good story to start a discussion on diversity and how families come from different places.


Author: Loreen Leedy

Publisher: Square Fish

Grade Level: K-3

SOL: Geography

2.6 The student will demonstrate map skills by constructing simple maps, using title, map legend, and compass rose.

Summary: Lisa makes a map of her bedroom, with the help of her dog Penny.  While doing this, she decides that she will map Penny’s world, and create maps of the exotic places they will go.

Why I chose it: This book clearly points out important aspects of maps including scale, key, and compass rose, which connects directly to the SOLs.

The double life of Pocahontas

Author: Jean Fritz
Illustrator: NA
Publisher: Puffin
Year: 2002
Grade level: 2-5 (


K.1The student will recognize that history describes events and people of other times and places by
a)identifying examples of past events in legends, stories, and historical accounts of Powhatan, Pocahontas, George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Abraham Lincoln;

Summary: Most everyone has seen the movie of Pocahontas, but is that what really happened? No! This book is one of the few children’s books which gives an accurate description of the life of Pocahontas. Torn between two different peoples, Pocahontas had to make the hard decision of staying with her native American family or going with John Smith. This book truly shows her struggles and the impact her relationship with John Smith had on her people and his.

I chose this book most importantly for its accurate information. There were other books about the same topic that I looked at but they had incorrect information. I also like how in this book both perspectives are given.