
What is a Glyph? 
A glyph is a nonstandard way of graphing a variety of information to tell a story. It is a flexible data representation tool that uses symbols to represent different data. Glyphs are an innovative instrument that shows several pieces of data at once and necessitates a legend/key to understand the glyph and require problem solving, communication, and data organization.
Remember coloring pages where you had to color in each of the numbers or letters using a key to color certain areas? Or how about coloring books that were filled with colorbynumbers? These colorbynumber pages are a type of glyph. Some other activities we can call glyphs would be the paintbynumber kits, the water paints by color coded paint books, and in some cases, even model cars. Some of the model cars had numbers or letters attached to each piece that had to be glued together. These days, this could be considered a type of glyph.
What is the Purpose of a Glyph?
A glyph is a symbol that conveys information nonverbally. Glyphs may be used in many ways to get to know more about students and are extremely useful for students who do not possess the skill to write long, complex explanations. Reading a glyph and interpreting the information represented is a skill that requires deeper thinking. Students must be able to analyze the information presented in visual form. In other words, a glyph is a way to collect, display and analyze data. They are very appropriate to use in the CCSS data management strand (see standards below) of math. Glyphs actually a type of graph as well as a gettingto knowyou type of activity.
CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.C.4 Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories;
ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with singleunit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple puttogether, takeapart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.
For example, if the number of buttons on a gingerbread man tells how many people are in a family, the student might be asked to
“Count how many people are in your family. Draw that many buttons on the gingerbread man." Since each child is different, the glyphs won't all look the same which causes the students to really look at the data contained in them and decide what the glyphs are showing.
Holiday glyphs can be a fun way to gather information about your students. You can find several in my
Teachers Pay Teachers store. My newest one is for fall or Halloween and involves reading and following directions while at the same time requiring problem solving, communication and data organization. The students color or put different items on a pumpkin based on information about themselves. Students finish the
pumpkin glyph using the seven categories listed below.
1) Draw a hat on the pumpkin (girl or a boy?)
2) Color the stem for pets or no pets.
3) Draw eyes based on whether or not they wear glasses.
4) Write a Halloween greeting based on how many live in their house.
5) Do they like playing outside more than playing inside?
6) How do they get to school? (ride or walk?)
7) Pumpkins (How many letters in first name?)