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January 13, 2017

Patterning: Turn a Routine Activity into a Master Math Class

Written By: Brandi Jordan
X Patterning: Turn a Routine Activity into a Master Math Class

Patterning: Turn a Routine Activity into a Master Math Class

There has been a lot of discussion over keeping calendar time in the early elementary classroom, but this smart idea by Sue, a Kindergarten Teacher, in Asheville, NC explains why calendar time is the perfect time to teach patterning.  More than just a quick skill to briefly touch upon, patterning is integral to future math skills.  Find out how you can make it more meaningful and fun in your classroom.

How to Teach Patterning During Calendar Time

Sue explains, “Patterning is such a big part of our curriculum that I begin teaching it the first day of school during calendar time. I have a pocket chart calendar and each day we add that day’s date to the chart, creating a pattern as we go.”

“In August, we use red and green apple-shaped cards to create a simple AB pattern. Then each month after that, I display different patterns of increasing complexity: ABC, AAB, ABB, ABCB, etc. I create some of the pattern from die-cut shapes, but for others I mix together two or more sets of commercially prepared calendar numbers. (Tip: If you and a colleague do this activity, you can share the sets),” she says.

“Starting in October or November (depending on my class), I place index cards labeled with letters (A, B, or C) behind each calendar number indicating the pattern displayed. These cards help the children identify the pattern configurations. Each day my students take turns predicting what the next day’s calendar card will look like based on the pattern; they also must explain their reasoning. By the time my kids need to be assessed on patterning, they have it down pat!”

Patterning: Turn a Routine Activity into a Master Math Class

How do you teach patterning to your kindergarten and first grade students?  Share with us in the comments below or on the Really Good Teachers Forum!

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  • SuZC.
    January 14, 2017

    Patterning is SO important for children and I do the same activities with my first graders. I add an extra little movement activity where we clap, snap, hop, stomp, etc., and use different words for the patterns. So if it’s an ABB pattern we might clap-jump-jump or we might say fish-cat-cat…we have fun with it. We start out slow and then we try to see how fast we can go. Thanks for sharing your idea!

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