5 Things We Think Middle School Students Know That They Don't #4: How to Read and Interpret Graphs
A few years ago I attended a PD session called "Integrating Graphing into your Instruction". An old teaching friend was the presenter, so I gave it a shot. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I got out of it. Graph reading and interpretation are skills that show up frequently in standardized social studies tests that do not explicitly exist in most social studies standards. We expect our students to use them, but we don't (or at least I didn't) really think about ways of explicitly teaching those skills.
So, how can we integrate frequent graph skills practice into our instruction given that World History has to cover 40,000+ years of content and American History nearly 500? I integrate graph practice in two main ways.
First, my warm up activities at the beginning of class always involve a short (less than 2 min) vocabulary activity and a slightly longer second activity either related to map reading or graphing. For my graphing warm ups, I'll project a graph and we will briefly discuss its features. I ask questions like, "What type of graph is this?", "What do the colors mean?", "What units are used?" with the follow up of, "How do you know?" or "How did you find out?" Then, I'll ask several questions that require them to actually read the graph (and, again, I ask them to explain how they got their answers). I really enjoy doing this because I can select all kinds of different graphs that don't necessarily need to be on topic (like a favorite super hero pie chart) that sort of trick my students into exploring and reading types of graphs.
The second way in integrate graph practice into my instruction is with specific graphing activities. I have a growing number of these resources available in my store. If you're interested, CLICK HERE to check them out.
I'm also giving you a FREE set of graphing posters (pictured above) that you will get as a Google Slide presentation you can print out that are a perfect addition to an informational/teaching wall either in your classroom or in the hallway. CLICK HERE for the set of 4 posters, and don't forget to follow my TpT store for more great Social Studies resources!
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I'm an 18 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.