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21 November 2012

Ideas for Assessment: Pattern Crowns

Most Kindergarten assessment requires one on one teacher-student interviews, which requires an independently working class that is fully occupied for a long time.  This is the first in an occasional series of suggestions for activities children can do while you assess.

Patterns (recognition, extension, identification, creation) are a key California math standard for Kindergarten.  They are not such a big deal in the Common Core standards, but the Common Core does cover sorting and classifying, and those are foundational to pattern-making.

This activity will provide about 45 minutes of testing time.  If you provide a when you're finished activity, expect to have 60+ minutes for all of your Fountas and Pinnell, DRA, DIBELS, Brigance, PALS, or Reading Lions needs.

This activity is also a nice one for guest teacher days.

Necessary supplies:

  • sentence strips (one per child)
  • glue (ideally one per child)
  • scissors (one per child)
  • pattern pictures (one sheet per child)
  • coloring tools (preferably thin markers or colored pencils)
Pattern pictures: I plan to upload a couple, but basically these are a table with multiple copies of three or four clip art pictures (each picture about 1.25 inches square).  The idea is to provide plenty of pictures so that students can choose to create a wide variety of patterns).  If you make a table and have a decent supply of clip art, you can offer a seasonal or subject pattern crown activity whenever you like.  By placing different expectations on pattern complexity, etc. you can offer a novel academic experience while testing every time.

Once equipped, students write their names on the back of their sentence strip and then cut out the pattern pictures.  They then lay out at least two different patterns before choosing their final pattern.  Before gluing, they must have another child check their pattern for accuracy.  (This is a procedure that needs to be explicitly taught in advance, but checking in with a classmate is something I expect my class to do all the time, and it really helps with proofing their work.  I also teach strategies for helping someone correct their work without telling them how to correct it.)

Once the pattern has been checked, they can glue it to their strip.  After cleaning up scraps and returning scissors and glue to their appropriate locations, students may retrieve coloring tools and go to town on their patterns (I encourage but do not require that they continue their pattern in their color selection or create an overlying color pattern.)

When I am done assessing, I staple the strips into crowns and dub their owners Pattern Princes and Princesses.

The kids LOVE these and will spend a lot of time on fine-motor acuity (cutting very accurately, coloring with real detail) in addition to practicing math skills.  The crowns are cute and the students know what the purpose of the activity was and what they practiced.

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