It's that time again! I'm linking up with the fabulous Jasmine McClain for the You Oughta Know Blog Hop. This month I really think you oughta know about the importance of graphing in the primary classroom.

Do you make graphs with your students? Of course you do, who doesn't? But do you know why it is important and what experiences your students should have to get the most out of graphing activities?
Why is graphing so important?

1. Graphs can engage students and create enthusiasm for math.
2. Graphs can be integrated into any subject, showing students the real world application and purpose for learning math concepts.
3. Graphs give students the opportunity to represent, compare and discuss mathematical relationships and concepts in new ways.
  • Collecting information
  • Tallying information
  • Counting data points
  • Surveying peers or others
  • Sorting objects
  • Making graphs with real objects
  • Making picture graphs
  • Reading graphs
  • Making observations from a graph
  • Comparing results with a friend
  • Asking questions about a graph

Using real objects is a great way to get started on graphing with young students.  Gather any of those awesome math manipulatives or art supplies you have hanging around your classroom. They are great for graphing, by size, color, or type.  Students can sort them and line them up on your table.  You can then have students translate this information into a bar or picture graph. Learning to represent data in different ways is a key understanding for mathematical success.

Snacks are another one of my favorite items to graph with students. I used to love sorting my snacks into groups as a child and kindergarteners seem to do this naturally during snack time in my class anyways. So why not take advantage of this opportunity and have students create a graph and make observations about their data.

Teaching students to take surveys to collect data is another way to introduce a real world application of graphing.  Maybe you are having a class ice cream party and need to know what flavor everyone would like.  Or maybe a child wants to plan their birthday party at the local pool and wants to know if their friends can swim.  Surveys are a quick efficient way to collect and organize the information you need.

So you've created a gorgeous graph, now what? Teaching students to analyze and interpret information from a graph is the ultimate goal. When we encounter graphs in real life we need to be able to gather information and understand what the graph is showing us.  Using open ended questions are a great way to start to get students talking about a graph.  I often ask my students to write what they notice about their graph. I tend to ask what has most and least first to get that out of the way, otherwise this can easily become the only information students feel is important to write about.
After students have the opportunity to tell what they notice you can ask follow up questions about things students may not have noticed.
  • Which item has most/least?
  • Which item has more/less than ___?
  • Which items have the same?
  • How many items were there in all?
  • How many more ___ than ___?
When students create their own graphs based on different sets of data I also like to have them compare their graphs.  For example when students graph a snack, they will likely end up with very different results, leading them to ask different types of questions.
  • What did you have the most of? How is that different from your friend?
  • Why do we have different data? 
  • Are there any patterns we see across multiple graphs?
Looking for some resources to help you get started on graphing in your classroom? Here are 3 FREEBIES for surveying, sorting and graphing.

And here are the links to my favorite graphing resources:

I hope you are all enjoying a relaxing weekend with a little Valentine's Day planning mixed in.  I'm teaming up with my Elementary Entourage buddies today to bring you a blog hop filled with Freebies and Fun!

I just love the friends and connections I have made through blogging. I only wish I had started this adventure earlier, but then again if I had I might not have met all of my sweet Elementary Entourage friends.  This winter we did a little Secret Santa gift and card exchange, and if you follow us on FB and IG you probably saw a lot of cute gift swapping going on.  I loved connecting with my blogging besties in this way and who doesn't love REAL mail! I mean don't get me wrong we order a ridiculous amount of stuff on Amazon in our house so packages make a regular appearance on our doorstep, but surprises are so much more fun! I was so excited when the girls and I decided to do another exchange for Valentine's Day.

I was so lucky to have Stephanie from The Learning Chambers choose my name because she picked out the cutest things for me and Madelynn to enjoy! If you don't follow her, you should check out the awesome ideas she has here.
Okay, okay onto the fun. First up, this adorable mug and gift card to Starbucks. I am a serious Target addict so I was totally eyeing these up for my Secret Valentine too. There were so many different cute sayings too! Be sure to grab one for the coffee lover in your life if you're still in search of a gift! And I just love that this starbucks gift card is a "Texas Exclusive" I'm going to have to make a special trip there tomorrow while I'm out running errands for sure.
And what's even better than coffee? Quality fun with my baby girl. Yup, Stephanie sent some super cute crafting fun for Madelynn and I to do together! She's the best :) We've recently discovered the fun of stickers, so these were perfect!
 Someone's a little excited to decorate a garland.
Peeling stickers is serious business.
 Finding her groove...Okay maybe this is just a little bit fun.
 Onto craft number two, photo frames.
 After a few attempts at eating the foam stickers, Madelynn finally discovered that they were actually sticky just like the paper ones.
 Pretty sure she was thinking about taking another bite here.
 And our {finished} products. Just need to add some photos to those frames. Thanks Stephanie for a fun Saturday morning activity!
Thanks for sticking around to read about my Valentines Fun.  Now here is a little treat for you! I created these FREE Printable Valentines and Treat Toppers for you to give out to your kiddos.  There are LOTs of different options so come check them out here:

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