Pattern Block Letters and Numbers! Great Math Center Activities

Posted on May 16, 2012. Filed under: Common Core, Manipulatives, Math Centers | Tags: , , , , |

Have the students make these pattern block numbers and pattern block letters.  Then have them count how many pattern blocks they used.   I might also have them make a graph of the shapes they used.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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April 22nd is National Jelly Bean Day

Posted on April 14, 2011. Filed under: Manipulatives, Math Centers | Tags: , , |

Here are some great math links to help you celebrate National Jelly Bean Day!

Jelly Bean Fractions

Jelly Bean Math Ideas

Jelly Bean Graph Ideas (Click the Jelly Bean Graph but Be Sure to LABEL IT!)

Jelly Bean Estimation (Create a real station in your class.)

More Jelly Bean Estimation

Even More Jelly Bean Estimation

Powers of Ten (Be sure to click on the Jelly Bean and watch what happens!)

More Jelly Bean Math (Measurement)

Jelly Bean Addition

Jelly Bean Fractions

Upper Elementary and Middle School Jelly Bean Math


Jelly Bean Math

Great Activities

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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St. Patrick’s Day Glyphs

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Classroom environment, During the Guided Math Lesson, Elementary math, Manipulatives, Math Centers | Tags: , , , |

Glyphs are a great math activity. Remember they are a pictorial form of data collection (according to mathwire).  Here is a leprachaun glyph

Here is another one.  And another one!

Be sure to see the other posts on glyphs in this blog!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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St. Patrick’s Day Math: Great Activities to Do in Guided Math Groups

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: Assessment, During the Guided Math Lesson, Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Manipulatives, Math Centers | Tags: , , , , , |

The New Common Core Math data standards say that students should be able to classify objects and count the number of objects in each category as well as represent and interpret data.  So here are some great St. Patrick’s day data links:

Lucky Resource 1 (scroll down to lucky charms graph)

Lucky Resource 2 

Lucky Resource 3   (great site for differentiated lesson plans)

Lucky Resource 4

Lucky Resource 5 (graphing in action)

 Lucky Resource 6

Lucky Resource 7

Lucky 8

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Graphing in Action: Great Guided Math Activities

Posted on March 7, 2011. Filed under: Differentiated Instruction, Elementary math, Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Math Centers, Math is a Language, Multiple Intelligences | Tags: , , , |

Graphing: Caught on Tape!  Look at this great glog of 3 vignettes of students actively graphing their names with unifix cubes, real apples and fruit loops.  I really like the way they are making like a pictograph on the top and then a bar graph on the bottom with the fruit loops.  I also like the vocabulary in action.  I would do these activities in small guided groups so that I could really do some building of the concepts as well as work with the vocabulary.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Glyphs and Guided Math Groups

Posted on September 3, 2010. Filed under: Elementary math, Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Math Centers, Math is a Language | Tags: , , , |

Glyphs are a form of graphing that are really fun yet quite rigorous at the same time.  Making and interpreting glyphs involves problem solving, representing a variety of  information,  communicating ideas, and discussing and interpreting all the data once collected.

 Key Points about Glyphs:

  • Pictorial way of showing data
  • Shows a great deal of  information  at  one time
  • Symbols represent the different data
  •  Many types of glyphs and many teacher resources with several ideas… (shoes, snowmen, houses, horses etc..)
  • Require a legend to read

Making glyphs is an involved process.  First the children have to decide on various criteria.  They read the legend and then make their individual glyph accordingly.  They are literally transfering their data into a pictorial representation.  I find that it is much easier to pull students into guided math groups and have them create their glyphs there, especially since I can  focus on questioning them and hear them communicate their ideas using math language.  As with all other data collection, the MATH TALK is key.  Have the students justify what they are doing and the discuss the collective data.


cut and paste this url:

Teacher Resource Books About Making Glyphs:

*Be sure to see the post on this blog about graphs

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Graphing Ideas for Whole Group, Center and Guided Math Lessons

Posted on September 2, 2010. Filed under: Graphic Organizers, Guided math, Math Centers, Math is a Language | Tags: , , |

The beginning of the school year is a great time to start your graphing routines.  At my schools we do Friday Graphing Days.  We devote Fridays to fun graphing activities and problem solving.  On Graphing day, we collect some data (birthdays, clothing, food, pets etc.).  We do this as a whole group activity in the beginning of the year.  As the year progresses, the students can do some of these activities in centers.  When I am teaching them to record their own graphs, I pull small groups.

 *October is National Cookie month.  I read Cookie Count this fantastic pop-up book and then we vote for and graph our favorite cookies.  Then, of course we have a cookie party. 

 Important Steps for Graphing Activities:

We collect, plot, analyze and then interpret and discuss the implications of the data.  It is important to do all the steps.  Oftentimes, we tend to collect, plot and analyze but rarely interpret or discuss the implications of the data.  I think we should collect data that we use.  So students begin to see graphing as more than just something we do in school.  So, although graphs like “How many buttons do you have?”  are fun…would we ever really do that in real life and for what reason?:)

 Use the data:

For instance, we would graph how many people are right-handed and how many people are left handed and then we would discuss the implications.  If we have 2 left handed people, what does that mean?  Do we have enough left-handed scissors?

 Work that data set:

We can use that same data set in different types of graphs over a few Fridays.

We can make a frequency table, a tally chart, a pictograph, and a bar graph.

 What they look like:

Make sure your BAR graphs pass the 5 finger rule: title, categories, numbers, label on the x axis and label on the y axis. Often times we forget to label the axis! We have to REMEMBER to LABEL the AXES.  This is on the tests that the upper elementary students have to take and they often miss it.

Oftentimes in the primary grades we do object graphs.  For example, if we are graphing pets, we put up pictures of all the options.  On most standardized tests, they have 1 symbol that represents however many votes.  In the primary grades we can do 1 symbol 1 vote.  By second grade we should be doing 2 or more votes per symbol.  (So students have to skip count to calculate the total votes).

 Have the students make their own graphs at some point.


When talking about graphs make sure you emphasize the use of math words.  Once we have a graph up, the first question I  ask is:

1.  What did you notice?  What wows you?

2.  What do you wonder?

3.  What are some questions we could ask about our graph?

       What was the most…?  What was the least?  How many…?  Why?


 cut and paste this url:

 MUST SEE SITE FROM JMEACHAM (ENOUGH IDEAS TO LAST YOU THROUGHOUT THE YEAR!!! You can work the ideas up and down…be sure to label all the graphs correctly:

 More ideas:      

Must read articles:

 Great Teacher Resource Graphing Books:

(be sure to click on the books and buy the used ones that are in good shape….I get some of my books for like 50 cents plus shipping!)

 Bonus Stuff: 

The great candy graphing lesson plans

*Be sure to look for tomorrow’s post on glyphs! It’s a really cool way to collect data:)

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