Incorporate a Daily Graph into the Morning Routine: 5th in Our Math Teaching Tips Series

By the end of third grade a student should be able to construct and analyze frequency tables, bar graphs, picture graphs and line plots, according to the Curriculum Focal Points from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition, they need to be able to use these tables and graphs to solve problems.

Providing daily opportunities for students to use, construct, and analyze graphs is a great way for them to learn and master these concepts. A Daily Graph is an great way to incorporate these concepts into the classroom routine.

Each morning display the outline of a graph on your white board. Pose a question as the title of the graph. For example, “How did you get to school this morning?” Kids come in and answer the question using their magnetic name tags (see directions below). Model what a good graph looks like by including a title and labels for the axis lines.

Use the graph as a starter for your math lesson or include it in a morning meeting routine. Discuss the graph with the class asking questions like, “How many more kids rode the bus than walked this morning?” Through these discussions, students are not only working on data analysis skills, but also on number sense skills as they compare numbers.

Be sure to expose your students to different types of graphs by using vertical and horizontal bar graphs and Venn Diagrams. During math class use the Daily Graph to make other graphs. For example, convert a bar graph to a picture graph, line plot, frequency table, or tally chart. Compare the different representations of the same information. Ask, “Which one is easier to read? What are the similarities and differences between the graphs?”

After the students are comfortable with the Daily Graph, put them in charge of it. Assign students to create the graph for the following day. They need to come up with the question for the next day and the type of graph they want to use. Then have them lead the class discussion and analysis of the graph.

Make a set of magnetic name tags for year-long graphing activities.
What you need:
•    Colored index cards
•    Magnetic strip with an adhesive back
•    Markers
•    Stickers (optional)

How to:
Cut the index cards in half.  Write a student name on each card. You may want to include a sticker to decorate it a bit. If possible, laminate the cards. On the back of each card attach a piece of magnetic strip.

Now your class is ready for a Daily Graph!