In my classroom, my students earn "pennies" for each activity during the day for staying on task. At the end of the day during math time, they count up the pennies they have earned and I pay them using realistic plastic coins such as the ones in the picture from Lakeshore Learning. They then trade in their pennies for silver coins.
In order to make this easier, and to help them learn which coins are equivalent, I made two charts. The first chart shows the coin equivalencies and the second chart shows three different ways to make $1.00. I also made sure the coins were the same size as real coins to help with matching. Click on the pictures to download the charts for yourself.
On Friday, the students use their money to purchase an item from my treasure box or save for something that costs more such as a coupon for free time, lunch with the teacher, or slipper day in the classroom. I set the prices based on how much they can earn in one week, so the "better" items will take 2-3 weeks to save for.
It is amazing how quickly my students (1st and 2nd grade special education) have learned the names and worth of the coins as well as how many pennies are needed for a nickel or dime. They are also learning about saving. This has been a great way to tie behavior management with academics!