The Penny President-Non-Fiction

The kids liked this lesson because they got to glue a penny to the bottom of their writing!

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

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

We played 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.

Now for the writing lesson!

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

  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.
  3. Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about Abraham Lincoln.
  4. Write their responses on the board.
  5. 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.

6. Tell the storyline:  You’re going to write a short biography about Abraham Lincoln by writing important facts about his life.

7. Show the five sections:

Introduction: statement and question

Fact 1

Fact 2

Fact 3


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

Now to write:

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

Pennies can be found in pockets and parking lots. OR

100 pennies makes a dollar.

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?

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. Glue a penny at the bottom of the paper.

8. Write the title, “The Penny President” at the top.

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

Games that we played following this prompt were:

Correct the Paragraph

Spin a Punctuation!

The Penny Game (Naming facts about Lincoln and then listing words that start with ‘p’)