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Teaching Graphing in FDK

Hi friends!
I'm super excited to share with you how I made graphing in Kindergarten fun and independent this year!



Every year my kids find graphing super fun and engaging but teaching JK/SK (that’s Pre-K/K for my American friends) it was always hard to make this an independent centre.  




This year I found a solution that worked well!

Here is how I taught it:

Day 1: Learning Goals & Success Criteria
First I introduce the learning goal "We are learning to make graphs".
Then we start by talking about the first step in the success criteria:
I know I can do this when I can make a question.

I give them a few examples first then have the kids share and added their questions to a chart.
Then I typed up the questions and laminated a couple copies to keep in our question folder so that the students can reference them if they need help coming up with a question.




Day 2: Make a Question and Collect & Graph the Data

On the second day, I introduce the rest of the success criteria

I can collect and record data on my graph. 

Data=information



Sidenote: I followed some of the kids around as they graphed the first couple of days and asked them questions like "What do you need to do first?" and "How do we record _____'s answer?" etc. to uncover some student thinking.  I took pictures and notes as I followed along and then printed a couple out as exemplars for the success criteria "I can collect and record the data on my graph."

I can answer questions about my graph using the words most, least and the same. 


Then we practiced making our graph.

I was going to start with a concrete graph (in theory that might be better) but I have a higher group of kiddos than usual this year and I wanted to introduce the graphing papers that we they would be using at the graphing centre so I could open it that day.


So I put this graphing paper up on the smart board




and we went through the steps together.


First we read the question together and I showed them how to trace the question.  Then we picked three colours for the choices.  We talked about we could do a small scribble with crayon to indicate our colour choices if copying colour words from the word wall was too tricky.  I also told them that even if they can copy the colour word to do a small dash of the colour with crayon underneath to help them remember what is what.  Then I modelled how to ask the question to each student in the class and add the data to the graph.


At the end we talked about which colour was the most popular, least popular and if any were the same.


I left out this paper with clipboard, pencils and crayons for the kids to try.


Here is an example of a completed "What is your favourite colour?" page.




I told the kids that if there were no colours that were the same they could either put an X or write "none".




The kids also used these "Photo Class List"'s to keep track of who they've asked.  As they asked their question and graphed their data, they crossed out the person they asked.


On the third day we made our first concrete graph.

First we reviewed that the first step was to make a question.
I told them that the question we are going to answer and graph today is "What is your favourite animal?"

I then quickly taped 5 different animal pictures around the room.  Then I had the students move to the picture of their choice.


Then we called 1 group at a time and graphed the kids on the carpet.


We have the perfect carpet for this as our carpet is a grid!




We had the person at the front hold the animal picture, took a picture with the iPad and showed the image on the SMARTBoard.  Then we talked about which one was the most, the least and the same.


Here is a sample of an favourite animal graph they could complete at centre time:




On the fourth day we made another concrete graph.  This time we graphed siblings in our class! We followed the same steps as favourite animal but I taped the signs for "sisters only", "brothers only", "brothers and sisters" and "no siblings" instead.  The rest was the same as the third day :)


On the fifth day we created our birthday graph! First I had some of my kiddos write the months of the year for me.  Then I put them up on the bulletin board.  Then I printed out a square picture of each of my kiddos and mounted it on black construction paper.  Then we added the pictures during whole group math time and we talked about which month has the most birthdays, which month has the least birthdays and if any of the months have the same.




Next time I would have the students write their birth date on a whiteboard and hold it in from of them when I take the picture so that I could easily get that information from this graph.

I also used this graph on my graphing wall and put it under "I can answer questions about my graph using the words most, least and the same."  Then I put a velcro dot on top of each column and the words most, least and same on a velcro strip underneath.  This way, the kids can come and practice identifying which month has the most, which month has the least and which months are the same number of birthdays on the graphing wall.


If you would like to try the pre-filled favourite animal graphing sheets click on the button below to download them for free :)


All of the printables above can be found in my newest product, Graphing for Little Learners!

You can click on the image below to check it out in my TPT store :)




My kids are still loving graphing and it is a popular centre every day.

How do you teach graphing in Kindergarten?
I would love to hear your fun ideas!

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