abcteach blog

Learning and practicing money skills will benefit students their entire life. Next week, abcteach is introducing a new collection of flashcards that assemble a variety of paper bill photos from $1 to $100. The new additions will join our coin flashcards (from $0.01 to $1.00) and shopping flashcards already found in the Special Needs section (freemember). All of the materials will be useful when working on the activities listed below. You may also need a collection of coins (real or plastic) and paper bills (real or printed), a sorting tray, file folders and library pockets. Good luck!

Now for some ideas for teaching hands on money skills…

  1. 1. Sorting Coins and Bills. There are many great, inexpensive plastic reproductions of coins and paper bills. For beginning learners, use only two coins: the penny and the quarter; then introduce the dime and finally the nickel. Don’t worry about using the fifty cent piece as there aren’t too many of them in circulation. Once students have progressed to four coins, use a muffin tin (6 cup style), which keeps the task a manageable size and nicely self-contained!  Cut a picture of an actual size coin (use one of our flashcard photos) to fit the bottom of the cup. Bills can be sorted by placing a photo copy of each bill on a library pocket placed on a file folder. For more visual learning, highlight the denomination in the corner to help students differentiate bill values.
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  3. 2. Matching Coins and Bills. Using the coin flashcards, leave the cards unfolded. Have students place the appropriate coins on top of the printed coins. As a final step, students can read the amount of the coins they have placed. When using bills, again, leave the cards unfolded. Have students place the appropriate paper reproductions below the bills shown on the card, and recite the amount of the bill collection.
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  5. 3. The Value of Money. Using the unfolded flashcards, have students place a coin or bill on (or beneath) a flashcard as they recite the amount of the coin or bill (i.e. a dime is 1,2,3…8,9,10 pennies or a 10 dollar bill is 1 five dollar bill and 5 one dollar bills). The coin or bill flashcards may be enlarged (and magnets or Velcro attached) for group lessons.
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  7. 4. Counting money. Using the unfolded flashcards, have students place a coin or bill on (or beneath) a flashcard as they state it’s value and add it to the other coins on the card. Students should count money in increments that are represented by the coins (i.e. $0.28 = (one dime) 10 cents, (PLUS one dime) 20 cents, (PLUS one nickel), 25 cents, (PLUS one, two three cents) 26 cents, 27 cents, 28 cents. Likewise, dollars can be read in denominations as represented on a particular flashcard. Students may practice this with a teacher, assistant, parent, peer, or sibling who has already acquired the skill. Group lessons may also be taught with enlarged flashcards.


Stay tuned for the second edition of money skills, focusing on shopping and practical use activities. As always, feel free to question, comment, or share strategies that have worked in your classroom!

Posted by Janie Quinn, abcteach team

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