The Penny President that Kids Love!

The kids liked this lesson because they got to glue a penny to the bottom of their writing! They also enjoy learning about the president on the penny.

a penny glued to the bottom of the student's paper

One little penny is another example of a simple art accent that motivates writers to write and rewards them for their work!

The Penny Game

The students also really liked playing The Penny Game after completing this prompt.

kids playing the penny president game

We played two rounds of the penny game.

Two Rounds of the Penny Game

For the first round we listed facts about Abe Lincoln. For the 2nd round we listed words that began with the letter ‘p’. Kids LOVE the penny game, so be sure and check it out here.

Common Core State Standards

NOTE:  This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards:  CCSS.ELA.LITERACY.W.K.2, W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2, W.3.2.A, W.3.2.B, W.3.2.C, W.3.2.D, W.4.2, W.4.2.A, W.4.2.B, W.4.2.C, W.4.2.D, W.4.2.E, W.5.2, W.5.2.A, W.5.2.B, W.5.2.C, W.5.2.D and W.5.2.E


To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use.  Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7

Give a Penny

  1. Give each student a penny to look at and time to observe and comment. 
  2. Ask them if they know the name of the person on the penny. Write Abraham Lincoln’s name on the board.

Tell the Story Line

Tell the story line:  “You’re going to write a short biography about Abraham Lincoln by writing important facts about his life.  This is non-fiction so you won’t write your opinion.  You won’t use the words I or my.”


3. Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about Abraham Lincoln. Write their responses on the board.

4. Teach facts about Abraham Lincoln using this Bio Box.

For younger students, you can simply read the facts to them and discuss them. For older students, you can give them their own Bio Box to read, discuss and refer to when they write.

Show the 5 Sections


1st Fact

2nd Fact

3rd Fact


Point out that the 3 facts can come from the Bio Box (which include his birth, education, appearance, family life, presidency and memorial) and/or any other facts that may not be listed in the Bio Box.

As mentioned in my writing prompts introduction:  K-1st Graders are encouraged to write 1 sentence for each section, 2nd Graders 2 sentences, 3rd Graders 3 sentences and so on.


Guide the students through the following steps. They can write each step using their own words.

Facts About Pennies

  1. Write a true statement about pennies. Examples include:

Pennies can be found in pockets and parking lots. OR

100 pennies makes a dollar.

The Person on the Penny

2. Write a question directing the reader’s attention to the person on the penny. Examples include:

Can you name the person on the penny?

How much do you know about the person on the penny?

A penny may be worth one cent, but have you ever thought about the worth of the person on the penny?

Write the Information

3. Write about the 1st fact.  (1-4 sentences)

4. Write about the 2nd fact.  (1-4 sentences)

5. Write the 3rd fact.  (1-4 sentences)


6. Write a concluding statement(s) that ties Lincoln and the penny. Examples include:

Lincoln’s face was put on the copper penny in 1909 to celebrate his 100th birthday. OR We can remember Abraham Lincoln each time we see, get or spend a penny.

7. Write a title at the top such as, “The Penny President.”


Once the students are done writing they can glue their penny to the bottom of their writing. This is a most simple art accent that indeed motivates and rewards writers for their work!

a penny glued to the bottom of the student's paper

Print the Lesson

Here are two examples. One is from a 2nd Grader, the other from a 1st Grader.

One student's writing about Abraham Lincoln, the penny president
A second student's writing about Abraham Lincoln, the penny president


Correct the Paragraph

students correcting capitalization, grammar, spelling and punctuation in a paragraph

Spin a Punctuation!: (Writing Game #4)

students writing an exclamation on a whiteboard

The Penny Game (Writing Game #2) Name facts about Lincoln and then listing words that start with ‘p’)

a student taking a penny for each fact that she says