Holy Moley! It's been two weeks since my last post! Yikes! That is too long, but Friends, this has been one of "those" years and life just gets in the way sometimes!
I am a teacher who sees nothing wrong with the Common Core. It is probably because I teach in an awesome school with an awesome administration who told us to adapt our curriculum to the Common Core; that we did not have to totally adopt it. We were told that the Common Core is a foundation for learning; not a curriculum. So, we have been doing just that with our kindergarten curriculum mapping..... adapting the standards that we feel are appropriate and retaining those that we feel should continue to be a part of our curriculum. One standard that was removed from the kindergarten CCSS was patterning. When I asked the reason why patterning was removed, I was told it was because patterns are a preschool standard, so it was redundant to repeat it in kindergarten. Well....... I agree that patterns ARE taught in preschool. My kinders come to school knowing how to create a SIMPLE pattern such as red, blue, red, blue, red, blue BUT when it came time to creating a more complex pattern, they were stumped. So our kinder team made the decision to retain patterns in our Math curriculum. Looking for number patterns and sequences is the key to unlocking algebraic equations. If we take this basic foundational skill away from our littlest learners, we are doing them a huge disservice. So..... I AM A KINDERGARTEN TEACHER and I STILL DO PATTERNS! :)
One thing about patterns that I DO agree with the Common Core writers is that attaching letters to patterning i.e. ABAB, AAB, ABC..... adds confusion to understanding the basics of patterns. In this older style of teaching patterns, my students would see a pattern on a piece of plaid fabric, for example, and try to convert it to a letter pattern. It usually could not be done and they were confused. When you remove the letters from the patterning experience, they begin to see patterns in the way in which they SHOULD be seen. I have been amazed at how creative my students get with their patterns when they are allowed to see the overall picture and not become confined into a letter pattern.
So.... here is a fun and easy Halloween project that we did this week. If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I do not give my students many templates and this is again, one of those projects. I gave each child a 12" x 18" piece of black construction paper and told them to place it vertically in front of them. I cut strips of brown construction paper and showed them how to create a fence with them. After gluing them down, they drew a BIG circle upon a large piece of orange paper. I told them to think BIG; that the goal was to have hardly any scraps when they cut it out. After it was cut out, they glued it upon the fence. They used scraps of yellow paper to create eyes and a nose. THEN I gave them sticker dots and told them to create a pattern for a mouth with the dots. I told them that they could use no more than 3 colors. I was HUGELY impressed with their abilities to create a pattern. EVERY single one of my students, regardless of their skill level, created a mouth with a pattern! Woo hoo!
After creating their sticker mouth, they glued the title sheet to the top of their paper. They then had to re-create their pumpkin's pattern mouth upon the circles on the title sheet. Once again, they ALL were 100% accurate in their re-creation! Hurray!
If you would like to do this with your students (and if your admin allows you to teach patterning!), you can click HERE for the words to this activity.
Until next time!