Monday, March 10, 2008


A parent at my school sent me link to the Create-A-Graph Web site last week and I'm floored at how easy and useful it is. The National Center for Educational Statistics sponsors the tool. I have used a piece of software called The Cruncher, quite unhappily, for a couple years to try to introduce the idea of graphing on the computer with young children. The software was here at my school before I was. It was designed for Windows 95 and boy does it show it! But the strange thing is that there are no patches and they STILL sell it on most educational software sites. But, that's another rant.

I've also used Microsoft Word's build in Chart Wizard to help slightly older children make data charts. Admittedly, we don't use Excel a whole lot because I find that it's more complicated than needs be for the grades I teach (through grade 5). Our Middle School students should be using Excel in math and science classes, but that, too, is another rant.

What I am really trying to say here is that the Create-A-Graph Web site does it all...simply and elegantly. Plus, it's free! I had second graders charting weather data last week. They really "got" it in a way that wasn't just following directions. They understood. And that, my friends, is the best part of the site. Check it out:

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