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I am a Kindergarten Teacher and I still do patterns! A Fun and Easy Halloween Patterning Project

Hello Friends,

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!


Five for Friday - Bees, Flowers, Scarecrows.... Randomness......

Hello Friends!

 I thought I would link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching today with 5 RANDOM thoughts because that is exactly how my brain has been working lately

1.  We had a successful trip to the Apple Orchard this week! Yay! I was a little nervous because my class is a bit challenging this year, but they were ah-mazing and I was so proud of them! The focus of our trip is the apples, of course, but also the role that bees play in the life of an apple. So, to cement bees (and insects) into their brains, my kinders created bees from Styrofoam balls. Yes! My kindergarten kids did these all by themselves and it was only ME and them! (My Bright Idea.....Use condiment containers for glue - it works wonderfully!!)
I made the project easier this year by having my kiddos use markers to draw stripes on the abdomen rather than paint! Worked like a charm!

Here is the finished product - kind of...... I actually removed the long stick from the end. This is a shish kabob stick that I pushed 3 Styrofoam balls through.... The eyes are felt circles attached with Elmer's glue. The wings are made from leftover laminating film and attached to the thorax with straight ball pins. Yes, my kinders DID this all by themselves!

2.  It is so nice to STILL be able to see flowers here in Central Illinois; even though it is the middle of October. These little guys are from my garden and they warm my heart that they are still hanging on!

3.   Look what arrived in the mail the other day! I have only unpacked it and hope to figure it out this weekend and put in my classroom next week! Looking forward to it!

4.  I love this little scarecrow that my kiddos made this week! It was quick and easy and made a fun bulletin board to celebrate Fall...

5.  Finally, I added a new product to my store this week as well as revised an old one. I am always in need of quick things to do in my guided reading groups as well as things for my early finishers to do. So, I made a few Folder centers that are based upon core literacy standards in kindergarten. I like being able to store them in a folder; it makes them compact and easy for my students (and me) to use. We did them in group this week and I plan to place them in Word Work next week.

My revised unit is my Spider unit..... I added a realistic picture book to the literacy pack. 

 Link up to Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Randomness!

Until next time!