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Tooth Fairy Math

Tooth Fairy Math
based on Junie B. Jones: First Grade Toothless Wonder
Written by Barbara Park
Grades: K–3

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About the Book
This book is the delightful and accessible story of a first grader confronted with the loss of her first tooth. It addresses all of the anxieties of this experience from a first-grade perspective, including what someone will look like with missing teeth, the scariness of being the first one to lose a tooth, and what type of person the tooth fairy actually is.

This book will easily open discussion on first-grade fears and allow your class to explore dental health as well as recycling in science class.

In order to get your students interested in what they will be reading, discuss with them the types of things they have brought in for show and tell. Ask them to explain to you why they choose these items and what made them special.

Next, have your students discuss what things worry them or make them nervous. Explain to them that Junie is very nervous about something in the story and ask them what they think that might be. Discuss what it means to recycle and why it is important.

Discussion Questions
Junie B. Jones thinks it is very funny when the recycling movie says that it makes cents to recycle.
• Define with your class what a homophone is.
• Ask them if they know any other homophones and brainstorm a class list of homophones for display.

Junie B. Jones begins to feel very proud when she realizes she is going to be the first student in her class to lose a front tooth.
• Ask you students to explain what it means to feel proud.
• Have them relay a time they felt very proud about being the first person to do something.
• Discuss other things that they may have done to make them feel proud.

Junie's friend tells her that the tooth fairy is actually a mean witch.
• Have your class discuss why her friend does this.
• Ask students whether or not this is a nice thing to and have them explain why or why not.
• Have them share when someone has done something like this to them and how it made them feel.

Junie spends a lot of time worrying about what the tooth fairy does with all of the teeth.
• Ask your students to brainstorm a host of things they think the tooth fairy might do with all of the teeth she collects.

Junie begins to feel bad about herself when she thinks she may begin to look like her friend's Uncle Lou.
• Have your class discuss what kinds of things she should worry about instead of her looks.
• Discuss with them why they think the things they came up with are more important than looks.

Junie tries very hard to keep her tooth from falling out.
• Discuss with your students whether or not it is possible to keep your teeth from falling out.
• Ask them to explain why it may or may not be possible.
• Ask them to brainstorm a list of other things that show that they are growing up.

Junie thinks that her "new look" (after she loses her tooth) is "fascinating."
• Discuss with your students a time when they have had a "new look."
• Ask them what it was and what they liked and/or didn't like about it.

Student Activity
In this activity students will have fun solving tooth fairy word problems while sharpening their math skills.

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Related Activities

  • Write a story about the tooth fairy where the tooth fairy explains what she does with all of the teeth she collects. Illustrate your story.

    Write a story that explains where the tooth fairy gets all of the money she puts under children's pillows at night.

  • Junie thinks that the tooth fairy recycles the teeth that she collects so that new babies can have teeth. Think about some things you can recycle. What are they? How could you recycle them? Make an art project where you recycle at least five different things.

  • Junie and her friends experiment with "silly smiles" after she loses her tooth. Draw a picture of yourself with a silly smile.

  • Junie is fascinated by her new look after she loses her tooth. What new look might you like to have? Draw a picture of yourself with a "new look" and write a paragraph where you explain your new look and why you think it might be a fascinating change for you.

Lesson Developed by Dr. Susan Shafer
Dr. Susan Shafer is a former elementary school teacher with more than twenty years of classroom experience and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. While teaching she received special recognition for her innovative, theme-based teaching methods. The author of two books for children and numerous articles for adults, Susan is presently a freelance writer, editor, and educational consultant.