We started graphing absolute value functions in Algebra 2 this week. At the same time, I got a request for a reference sheet like one I had posted for graphing quadratics. It was great timing. I had one but it wasn't good, so the request was the kick in the pants I needed to make changes.
To graph absolute value equations in our class (in vertex form), we first identify the vertex and plot it. Then we enter the vertex into a table and choose x values on either side of it. Then we choose one more x value. From there, we use our graphing patterns. Sometimes all we do is find the vertex and then use our graphing pattern, but I like making the tables, at least at first, because tables are great.
Last year I only covered functions in vertex form that had A values of 1. This year, I changed the graphing pattern on our sheet to "up 1a, over 1, up 1a over 1..." so that students can graph these slightly more difficult functions. I also have this fun reference flippable for absolute value functions that can help with all of the different parts of vertex form functions. You can find the absolute value graphing reference sheet in my dropbox in the sidebar. The file is called "STEPS TO GRAPH.pdf".