|This is what it looked like before I added the kids birthdays.|
On the first day of school I put a die-cut birthday cake on each child's desk with their name and birthday written on it. When they arrive to school they decorate their cakes any way they want. As a getting to know you activity we gather together in front of the graph and go through each month. If someone has a birthday that month they raise their hands and we discuss who has a birthday first, which comes before which, etc. As I put up the birthday cake, the student tells the class something about themselves. If they can't think of something I'll ask them their favorite color or food (I got a lot of "blue" and "pizza" this year). We repeat the process for every month. Once the pictograph is completed I ask them questions relevant to the graph (How many people have a birthday in May? Which month has the most birthdays? etc.). I find that this is a fun and easy way to get to know each other, throw in a quick and easy math lesson, and see what the kids already know about reading a graph.
*I start my graph with the month of August instead of January. This doesn't seem to confuse the kids at all. On the contrary they have no problem figuring out why I do it that way. (Since we start school in August!)