Patterning in Kindergarten

Patterning is one of my favourite things to teach in kindergarten.  I find students are quick to pick up the concept and the lessons and activities are so much fun!
We usually start earlier on in the school year and review many concepts (as well as introduce more complex patterns) in Term 2.

Whole Group Lessons
I like to start by introducing patterns by playing a fun game using these Rhythm/Sound cards.  I clap, snap, stomp or pat a pattern over and over and I ask the kids to chime in.  Then we talk about the part of the pattern that repeats.  Once students catch onto the game (which is pretty quick!) I choose a student to come up, pick a card and create that pattern while the class guesses what it is.

Another whole group lesson I like to do early on in this unit is to show the class the "Patterns at the Beach" picture, where they can come up and circle all of the patterns.  We discuss why it is a pattern and talk about how the pattern repeats (blue/white stripes for example).

I created these pattern posters to show students that patterns don't always have to be just about colour!  We see patterns in shapes and sizes too!  Usually I am wearing a shirt that has some kind of pattern in it (like stripes!) and they are quick to point that out.  We also play lots of pattern games with our students:
- girl/boy
- white shirt/blue shirt
- stand up/sit down
...and even a little more challenging would be to create those patterns using the pattern rule ABC, AAB, etc. and see if students can catch on.

 When we introduce the idea that patterns follow rules and we can label the rules, I show them these posters and have students come up and circle them.  We introduce the words "Pattern Core" and label it.

 I like to create a variety of patterns using this template on my Bright Links board.  Then I have students extend it.  I also leave it up on the board for students to create their own following the rule.

Once students are familiar with the concept that a pattern must repeat and follow a rule, we sort out these colour cards.
I like to use a pocket chart for this lesson but you can also easily set this up on the floor or table top for students to work on.

There are so many wonderful online games to practice patterning.  After showing students a few different ones, I leave this paper where they can scan the QR code with the iPad or type the website onto the computer.

I like to leave a lot of provocations out around the classroom for students to explore.  Many people have asked me how these work.  I have students freely choose what they would like to explore.  Some are open ended and others may require students to record their work.
I know other teachers that use these materials as centres and have students rotate through each during the week.  Try different ways in your classroom and see which one works better for you.  At the Light Table, I set up a variety of patterns (these are photocopied onto transparency paper) along with loose parts which can be anything from coloured glass beads, erasers, buttons, toothpicks, etc. (many of which you either have around your house or can buy inexpensively at the Dollar Store).

Also using loose parts, students can create their own pattern on these mats.
I ask them to record their patterns either by drawing them on paper (which is set up on clipboards right on top of the back shelf) or by taking pictures using the iPad which I can later create a PicCollage.

Can you follow the pattern rule and use beads to make a pattern?  This is easy to set up - just grab coloured pony beads and pipe cleaners to turn them into flowers.

I made these pattern strips for students to create different patterns and left them at the Math Centre.  If you notice that students don't necessarily gravitate towards them, show them how they can be turned into bracelets and even exchanged with a friend!

Most classrooms have these coloured bears - they come in 6 colours and 3 sizes.  I left out these bear pattern cards (attached to a ring to easily store) for students to complete the pattern.

If you have coloured links, students can create patterns following the rule.

This activity can be used both as a provocation or as a small group mini lesson.  Students can look at the pattern on the card and sort them under the correct header.

Linear patterns are always fun!  I set up Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, and straws to have students form patterns in different ways.  If you can, take students outside on a walk around the school or community and look for linear patterns....fences, gates, walls, etc.

Small Group Mini Lessons
Students can create a pattern booklet.  I have actually included 3 different books (including the one you see below using bingo daubers).  These booklets are a great assessment tool as you can have students create a variety patterns independently. 

You can easily set this up as a provocation; however I like to use it with a small group of students at a time (just to keep the area a little more mess-free!).  Using cookie cutters and large strips of cut up paint paper, students can create their own pattern.  You can even give them the entire paint paper and as them to create multiple patterns.  If you don't want to use paint, this activity can easily be substituted for Playdough.

Another great assessment tool is to use these cards to see if students are able to read the pattern rule and create their own.  If that is still a little difficult, you can start the pattern for them and have them extend it.  Or create the pattern, cover up the pattern rule and see if they can identify what type of pattern it is.
There are 6 coloured cards (around the border) so that you can have a group of up to 6 students work with you.  The cards packs are all different (the green border ones you see below focus on making colour patterns or example).  
 These red border cards focus on creating patterns by size.

I find any activity that allows students to use a dry-erase marker is loved.  We put these "What's Missing?" worksheets in a page protector and had students complete the pattern.

When we are wrapping up our unit, I like to play "Pattern Core Bingo" with my small group.  I read out a pattern core and students must be able to identify the pattern (if they have it!) on their card.  The first one to have a completely covered card wins! 
Looks easy but it's actually a little tricky!  
Patterns include AB, ABC, AAB, ABB, ABCD and AABB.

This huge unit also containers 2 weeks (10 days) worth of detailed lesson plans including what you might want to teach to your whole group and follow up small group lessons.

I just posted my Patterning in Kindergarten pack on TpT if you'd like to see more!


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Feb. 18-22 ... Outer Space and Science!

We had a short week here as this past Monday was Family Day.  We also had our Scientist in the School workshop all morning on Wednesday.  The topic was Sensational Science which was all about the 5 Senses.  It was so much fun!

Here are a few of the other centres and activities we did this week:

What is the Story of your Pezzettino?
The book Pezzettino by Leo Leonni is one of my favourites!  I had these small squares (which are most likely from years back!) and we set up this provocation inviting students to create their own Pezzettinos.  You can easily make this by cutting small construction paper squares.

Fine Motor - Poking
Our students love to poke!  We had them poke out hearts and glue them to construction paper (like the example you see).  I found these large push pins at Staples.  Although you can use smaller push pins which would make this more challenging.  
You can find this in my Poking!  Fine Motor Fun pack on TpT if you are interested.

Can you create a space story?
Our Space Inquiry is going strong so we added this to our provocations.  Students could use materials to create their own outer space story.  We also had paper and crayons on top of the shelf you see in the background for students to draw/write their story.

Outer Space - Paper Mache Planets
We have been researching planets and then creating a paper mache planet to reflect our learning.

"I Like Hearts" - pocket chart poem
The poem "I Like Hearts" is a cute one and easy to read so we added the cut up cards at our Pocket Chart Centre.
You can find this in my Interactive Pocket Chart - Poem Builder {I Like Hearts} pack on TpT.

Guided Name Practice
Some students are working on printing their names neatly so we set up these amazing boards (from Schoastic) along with their name card with photo.

We continued our Patterning Unit in math this week.  Here are a few of the activities we did...

On the Bright Links board I showed students this picture I created.  They used the interactive pen to circle all of the patterns they saw.

In small groups, we had students create patterns using cookie cutters and paint.

I also worked with students using these Follow the Pattern Cards where they created a pattern following the rule.  Each student received a colour-coded set of cards to make it easier to keep things organized.

One of the centres I left out invited students to complete the pattern using bear counters.

I just posted this huge Patterning in Kindergarten pack on TpT if you'd like to see more!  I'm planning on doing a blog post on how I teach this unit in math in the next few days with lots more pictures and details!  Stay tuned!

Here are my weekly plans if you'd like to take a closer look:

You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.
I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):


Weekly Wrap-Up -> Feb. 11-15 ... Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I posted a bunch of centres and provocations below that we had out this week to celebrate!

Can you create a pattern?
I've done this activity year after year, always tweaking it just a bit, because it's so popular!  Students were invited to string colourful beads onto a pipe cleaner heart and create a pattern.

Can you make a heart using loose parts?
Creating hearts using loose parts.

Valentine's Day Playdough Monsters
Using Playdough to create a Valentine's Day monster (or friend!).  We added googly eyes, strings of beads, pony beads, pipe cleaners and heart shaped cookie cutters.

Fair Share Treats
In our small groups for math, I worked with students on discussing what "fair share" means and relating this to numbers (even and odd numbers).  The students loved this so much that they began to record the numbers they explored onto a chart.

You can find this activity in my I {Heart} You - A Friendship Unit on TpT.

Valentine's Day Bingo
Students enjoyed playing this Valentine's Day Bingo game (from the Dollar Store a few years ago).

Heart Line Art
We discussed different types of lines recently and so I created this heart line art activity.  Students decorated each section of the heart using various lines (or other shapes they thought of) using permanent marker and then used water colour paint over top.

I love geoboards - they are always a hit with the students!  I added this paper (I just did a Google search online for a picture) to give students ideas on what to create or they could just explore using them!

Roll, Spin & Build
With our Math: Intervention group, we played this fun game - students roll the dot die, spin the spinner and build a chain counting out the links in whatever colour they roll.  This was great to reinforce subitizing, 1:1 correspondence, and measurement (length - whose chain in the longest, shortest, how much longer/shorter, etc.)

Colourful Mittens - Action Song
I've been singing this song from Year 1 of my teaching career.  I don't know who the original author of the song is (if you do please let me know as I would like to give credit to that person).  I created mittens in various colours by photocopying a blackline master of a mitten.  Students sat in a circle and I passed around the mittens.  As we sang the song, students who had that colour mitten stood up.  This is a great song to practice rhyming words!  
You can download this song (with both Canadian and American spelling) and the mitten blackline master by clicking below.

Here are my weekly plans if you'd like to take a closer look:

You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.
I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):