Still on vacation… I had a lovely conversation with my grandpa this week… he’s now almost ninety-four.  I’m going to see him in the next few weeks and I can’t wait.  After our chat, I remembered this post from my first year.  I love sharing the wisdom of my family with my students.  They always appreciate it… or maybe their just surprised I have a life outside of school.


This morning, just as he walked into the classroom, Nathan spotted a penny on the floor.  He reached down, picked it up, held it up high for me to see, and asked, “What should I do with this?”

“Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck…” I stated.

“Put it in your pocket, keep it safe, it will bring you luck all day long,” I told him.

Nathan eagerly shoved it in his pocket and went about the business of starting his day. 

Later that morning, while I was reading a story, Sonya held up a penny she’d just found on the carpet. 

“Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck” I told her and the entire group.  Nathan said nothing.

One funny thing about five-year-olds is, their pockets aren’t very deep… or secure.  Stuff falls out all the time.  I have a growing collection of ‘treasures’ in a tin on my desk.  This penny was different though.

All day long, that single penny was picked up, the owner would state the saying I’d taught them in the morning, and eagerly thrust it into their pocket, knowing they’d be the final owner and recipient of the ‘luck’ the penny carried.  By the end of the day, almost half the class had been the proud owner of the ‘lucky’ penny.

On the carpet, right before dismissal, I always have a few moments of reflection on our day.  This is a good time to celebrate small successes and discuss anything we might improve tomorrow. 

“How many of you found the ‘lucky’ penny today?” I asked.

Half the hands shot up.  I began to tell them about my grandfather.  Living in Manhattan, my grandpa loved walking the streets.  He particularly loved finding money on the street.  While he often found quarters, dimes, nickels, and even the occasional bill, his collection mainly consisted of pennies.

“My grandfather is ninety-one years old.” I told them.

They looked like they’d just seen a ghost.  Many of them can’t even count that high.

“He finds pennies all the time.  He’s lived a really long time and has an amazing life.  Maybe it is all the pennies he’d found?” I suggested.

“He’s the luckiest person I know.  I think, since most of our class found a penny today, we’re lucky too.” I offered.

Nathan, the last owner of the penny, who was also the original holder, raised his hand, the penny tightly held in his grip.

“Let’s put the penny up on the board so we can all see it and remember how lucky we are, like your grandpa.”

He came up and gently handed it to me.  I took a piece of tape and put it up high so we’d all see it and remember my grandpa and how lucky we are each day.

How do you share your family’s wisdom and traditions with your students?