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Reading Tables/Graphs Practice Idea

Every Monday and Friday I would pull up the weather channel's 10 day forecast for our city. I would have dry erase markers and boards at the table and would ask a series of questions based on the data.

- What day will have the highest temperature?
- What day will have the lowest temperature? Or what day are you going to have to dress the warmest?
- What is the difference between those temperatures? (math!)
- What day(s) has the greatest chance of rain? Or what day are we most likely to have indoor recess?
- What day(s) has the lowest chance of rain?
- What day is going to be the windiest?
- What day is going to have the greatest drop between their day and evening temperature?

I always look at the weather so I figure why not make it a classroom thing! Luckily we studied weather in the fourth grade so it was easy to incorporate it in my lessons but even if I taught a "non-weather grade" I would still do it.

It was amazing to see how difficult it was for the kids to find the information at first and when I asked them to calculate the difference between the highest and lowest number I could hear the class grind to a halt. I'm happy to report that with practice the students got use to the drill and became very proficient at finding the information quickly.

Here were some of the side results of doing this activity:
1. Students started looking for how the weather was going to effect their weekend plans or week day sports practice schedules.
2. They started discussions as to what sites provided better weather forecast (particularly if their parents used different sites).
3. On rain days they wanted to see the radar map.
4. If children were traveling out of town they would ask to pull up those locations for packing purposes (mostly done on Friday).

I loved it because it gave students real life practice reading tables and graphs and then applying that information to their lives outside the classroom.

If you didn't want to do it whole group you could always make a sheet that you printed as morning work on Monday and Friday and leave the forecast on the board and then reviewed the answers.


Anonymous said…
I am always looking for new journal ideas. This is a great idea. So glad I ran across your blog.
Leslie Reed said…
I teach 1st grade but I think this is a great real-world activity. I am already thinking about what I can do with my kids!

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