Random thing I just HAVE to share: Me and my two camp buddies had a great stay at a super nice hotel for the week. However (haha), the following picture is of our neighbors' door! We're not quite sure what was going on there, but from Monday-Friday they had the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door AND that towel stuffed at the bottom of the door!! They also would put out some random items next to the door sometimes. We could hear them talking and moving at night but never actually saw them leave. (I'm just wondering how they got clean towels if that sign never came off of the door??) I'm sure they're still there. And if this was you, I apologize and I need an explanation! ;)
ANYWAY, back on topic--Have you ever heard of Kim Sutton, Barbara Novelli, or Creative Mathematics (think Greg Tang and Marcy Cook)?? If not, you need to FIND OUT!! Follow one of the links to find out more because EVERY teacher needs to hang out and learn with them! They have A-M-A-Z-I-N-G stuff, they are both incredibly knowledgeable teachers, and are just downright wonderful people. I share the same passion they do about educating children, specifically in math. We also share a very important stance--in order to effectively teach children mathematics, teachers MUST know math themselves! I had such a wonderful week. I actually went to Barbara Novelli's K-1 session. Did any of you happen to be there??
We did a plethora of awesome activities and I am now overloaded and overflowing with new ideas. I actually asked Barbara about sharing some of her (and Kim's) ideas with you all in blog land and she was very supportive! I will be posting some of those later on because I will have to obtain permission for each idea prior to posting. I definitely do NOT want to violate any copyright laws or anything. :)
Barbara had this awesome graphing mat that she purchased from online that she uses to make all sorts of bar graphs with students using real objects. We went through a few activities ourselves with her modeling several ways of discussing the graphs with students. We had a make-and-take session one day and instead of making all of the items she suggested (being the rebel that I am) I decided to make my own version of her graphing mat. (Don't worry, I plan on making her materials later when I have all of the colors, patterns, etc. that I want). I'm linking up my graphing mat to Tara's weekly party!
The grid I made is two-sided with room for 4 outcomes on one side and 2 outcomes on the other. The boxes on the grid are used to hold objects based on the question.
One way to use this with your class is to have the graph ready for answering when they walk in the door. It could be part of a morning routine or used at another transition time. Pick your objects based on the question to make it more fun and to better connect it to their lives. So, example-- I have a plate of marshmallows ready to go to answer this S'Mores question:
The students simply pick up an object and place it on the mat appropriately. Possible outcome:
You can use all sorts of questions and all sorts of objects to answer with! Let the students guide the discussions about the graphs! Let them share what they notice about the graph (beyond the most and the least). Also, encourage them to share connections and thoughts about the data (sample response, "Some people probably have not tried S'mores because they have probably have not been camping" or "Lisa probably hasn't eaten a S'More because she does not like chocolate.")
Now, I know that I may have more responses than I do boxes on the mat. I'm okay with the data going "off the charts!" Ideally, I want the boxes to be bigger, but I also want enough space to be able to fit real objects in. I could have made a bigger mat but opted not to so it fit in the space on my classroom floor I imagine it to go on. :)
To make the mat, you will need:
- duct tape
- plastic tablecloth (rectangular)
- yard stick
- pen or marker
- Exacto knife or box cutter (optional)
I don't have pictures of the actual process, but it's pretty simple (though tedious). I bought a rectangular tablecloth and unfolded it except for one fold so the mat would be a little more durable. I then measured the length and width to figure out how many boxes might fit in it (the boxes are about 4" on each side). The most tedious part was taping! Luckily, duct tape goes off and on fairly easily. I did the border first and then tackled the horizontal and vertical lines.
Who says you don't use math in real life???!!?!?
- I made mine on the very flat carpet of a school library. It worked out very well except the tape kept picking up stranger hair from the floor (shudder). Flat, non-shaggy carpet or tile would probably work best.
- It would be helpful to draw lines on the mat before you tape. I didn't do that. :)
- Cut the duct tape in half (lengthwise) before taping so you don't end up with ginormous tape lines. You can use an Exacto knife or box cutter to cut the tape while it is still on the roll or you can just lay out the tape and cut it with scissors
- Make it two-sided! I am really excited about this versatility.
One final thing to share--I put together a quick list of possible questions to use with your graphing mat (as pictured below). Grab your free copy by heading over to one of my stores!
What do you think about this??