We got pattern blocks and pattern cards out today like we have so many times before. The children went over to the table and dutifully started putting the colored blocks on their coorresponding place on the card to create pictures. However, I noticed the children were lacking the excitement today they usually have when playing with the pattern blocks. I went over to the table and started playing with them and talking about the various colors and shapes of the blocks as I built my picture. But it just wasn’t working – they were losing interest -and it occurred to me that they were bored!
So suddeny I picked up my patterning card and flipped it over. The children starred at me – a little surprised – then one girl asked what I was doing. She told me there was no picture on the back for me to put my blocks on! I told her I knew that but I didn’t need a pre-made picture – I could make my own! The children at the table watched quietly and closely as I created one picture after another. Then, quietly I got up and walked away from the table to see what they would do. Suddenly I heard the little girl yell: “That’s right – we can make our own pictures! That’s what I’m going to do!” She flipped over her card. The other children at the table cheered and did the same!
The concept had never occurred to them before. Yet I had never told them they always had to use the cards to make pictures. I simply set the cards out as a starting point – to spark their interest and give them ideas. But they were intrigued to do this activity in another way and were quick to try it out!
Their excitement was back! Their interest re-sparked! They kept getting me from where I was in the room to take me back to the table to see their pictures. And there weren’t only pictures. Some children were sorting. Some were counting. And others were patterning – one little girl kept asking me to look at her “beautiful AB patterns” she was making! It was great to see them demonstrating all the concepts we have been trying so hard this year to teach them! They make me proud.