I love to graph in the classroom. We often keep graphs up for the children to refer back to for as long as they seem interested. When teaching children it is important to be intentional in almost every aspect of the school day. Children under 5 are soaking up everything and the best part is they don't know they are learning, they are just having fun through play (if we are doing our job correctly).
Graphing encourages prewriting, math, language and much more. Here are a few simple graphs to show you what I'm talking about.
The above graph is "What's your favorite color?" We usually do this graph at the beginning of the year. It gives us opportunity to talk about colors and then to make everyone feel special because they get their names written up there for all to see. It's also the beginning of them recognizing their own name in print and before long they recognize the names of all their friends too. The chart below is another example of this. It's imortant for children to get comfortable talking in the classroom in front of the other children. Talking about their pets or a pet they would like to have always gets the talking started. For some children this is very easy but for other children it can be almost painful. Talking about pets draws these latter children out and they begin to feel confident in sharing. Notice that the chart does run left to right just like reading a book. That's intentional.
We also do a lot of cooking in the classroom and often times we'll chart yes and no answers. For instance, in January it was cold and we used Maurice Sendak's book Chicken Soup with Rice and made some chicken soup with rice to warm up on a chilly day. The chart just asked "Did you like the chicken soup with rice?" and the children made their mark under "yes" or "no". We then tallied their marks to see if more or less people liked the soup. This time it ended up being most. We usually always add up responses and ask the "which is more, which is less" question.
Today is Groundhog Day so yesterday we graphed whether or not we thought Phil would see his shadow.
This graph did not run left to right but top to bottom and there is a reason for that. I had each child write their own name on the white board and had they run left to right they would have most likely rubbed another child's name off. It was important for that not to happen but equally important for the children to feel confident that they could write their own name for everyone to see. They all worked slowly and carefully and were very proud of their results. We finished off the activity by adding up both sides and this year we have a tie. The children did a super job and I could not have been more proud!!
I hope that you are having fun graphing in the classroom.