Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Third Grade Rocks!

Well, it's been a while since I've written a post.  But, I'm back in the groove and lovin' my third graders!  I'm ready to get back to my blog.  I've missed you all!  And I have a list of things I want to share with you.  Here's one of my favorites....


To introduce bar graphs, we read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.   I showed them a 6 x 6 grid and asked the students to predict how many times we could write Chrysanthemum's name to fill up all the grid squares with letters.  We decided to color the first letter of her name each time it repeated so we could see the pattern.  This is what it looked like (sorry for the blur!).

Then I taped it at the bottom of the whiteboard.  Then, each student filled a 6 x 6 grid with their name following the same procedure.  As they finished, I asked them to see if their name pattern was the same as Chrysanthemum's.  If it was, tape their grid on top of Chrysanthemum's grid.  If it wasn't the same, they were asked to put it next to Chrysanthemum's grid.

As more and more students finished, the "bars" began to grow.  As the bars grew so did their excitement.  The discovery process is fun to watch!  

Once all the names were on the board, we talked about the following:

  • X and Y axes
  • Labeling each axis
  • Numbering and the importance of no space as the bar is built.
  • Titling the graph
  • Labeling each bar
  • Why do we use bar graphs?
Lastly, we created questions that we could ask about the information in the graph.  
  • How many student's names had 4 and 5 letters?
  • What is the difference between 5 letter names and 2 letter names?
To get a free copy of the grid with directions for completing it, click HERE.  If you try this activity, I would love to know how it goes!  Happy bar-graphing!


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  1. LOVE this! I'm featuring this post in Bagels and Blogs tomorrow. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  2. Donna,

    That is so exciting! I am honored, as I am a big fan of yours! Thank you for visiting! = )

    Teaching with Moxie

  3. Diane,
    I love this activity! I do something similar with my first graders for 100s day (we use a 10 by 10 grid), but after making the grid, I have them walk around the room and find everyone with a pattern that looks like their pattern. Then I ask them to figure out why their patterns are the same and why their pattern is different than everyone else's. At first they are stumped, but then the light bulbs start going on and suddenly everyone is running around the room counting letters to see if their idea is correct.

    This year, I will take your idea add the graphing step (but at a first grade level). Many thanks!
    An Open Door

  4. Can't wait to try this with my second graders! Thank you for sharing this idea!

  5. Ahhh! I love that activity. It was one of my favorite BTS activities when I taught Math.


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