Daily Graphing in Action

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

Just a quick update on an earlier post from a couple weeks ago graphing.  I was fortunate to walk by Mrs. Sand’s open 2nd grade door today, and the graph on the SMART board caught my eye, so I wandered in.  I’m sorry it’s not a better picture, but you can see their quick survey of the day pictured below.  Be sure to check out the post I referenced earlier to grab the Notebook file.

The question of the day was Do you have brother or sisters?  The response choices were brothers and sisters, brothers only, sisters only, none.  As students enter the room in the morning, they slide the rectangle with their name to show their response, creating a bar graph.  Notice that the boys and girls have different colors for their rectangles.  That really opens up the possibilities for questioning about the graph.

When the math block begins, students are asked to offer observations.  I wasn’t taking notes, but some of the types of observations they mentioned were:

  • the most people have brothers and sisters
  • four more students have sisters only than brothers only and four more students have brothers and sisters than sisters only
  • none had the least
  • 10 people said they had brothers and sisters
The great thing about this activity is that it’s self-differentiating.  Everyone, no matter their level, can make some type of observation.  Deeper thinkers will have more complex observations.
Mrs. Sand then asked, How many students have either sisters only or none?  It was the first time she had asked them a question like that, but given a little think time, several students got the answer.  Mrs. Sand could have stopped there, satisfied with the right answer, but she asked two students to describe how they got their solutions.  One boy said that in his mind he moved the rectangle from the none column into the sisters only column, so then it was 7.  Another student explained that he knew sisters only was 6 and none was 1, and 6 + 1 = 7.  Fabulous lesson!!


  1. Amber O.

    I love this! I wanted to start a daily graphing in my class, but struggled to really “kick it off”. This makes me want to just jump in and do it. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Dell

    I’m excited! Why didn’t I think of doing this prior to morning meeting? Thanks for sharing! Yay!

  3. jessi cardinal

    I really love this website and as a teacher new to teaching elementary math, I have appreciated all the posts, products and freebies!

    In reference to this post on graphing, I just wanted to mention that, when doing graphs as a junior high teacher, I found it very frustrating that the students had all been taught to label the space in between the bars. It took me a long time to convince them that the number should actually be at the line and to train them to label their graphs that way. They were especially confused as we got into graphs that had wider gaps and the students needed to make a judgement call as to where in the gap they needed to plot each point.

  4. Loretta

    How do you make this interactive graph on the smart board?

  5. Sheila Fisher

    Just what I needed to begin my morning! Thank you for sharing!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This