Pattern Teaching Tip: “Taking Turns”

About two months ago (yes, I am very behind on my posting queue!) I was trying to turn making a paper chain into a learning experience for my daughter E.  I’d laid out colored strips and done a few iterations of a pattern with her (A, B, C) but when I’d say, “what comes next?” she just would pick whatever struck her fancy.  Which is fine except that I wanted her to try to mimic the pattern in this instance.  I decided to turn it into a little story.  Each strip of paper (red, green, and yellow) wanted to go down the (imaginary) slide, I said, and she had to help me make certain they took turns.  Right away she was the arbiter of fairness, telling red it wasn’t their turn yet, etc.  So I think that something that was clear to me, saying here’s a pattern, can you continue it, was not communicating to E what I really had in mind.  Making the strips of paper take turns (and try to sneak extra turns before their time) really helped.

(I debated whether or not to share this but if one of my favorite sites, Parent Hacks, taught me anything, it is that it is good to share your “aha” moments in case they’ll help someone else.  I’ve shared this post on another favorite site of mine, No Time For Flashcards’ Weekly Link & Learn.)