Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Pattern Block Boards

Christmas Pattern Block Mats
This is a great activity that builds multiple skills! I have these pattern blocks from my teaching days and have been wanting to incorporate them into my activities and then I saw this post from PreKinders and had a great way to incorporate them this month! By the way, PreKinders is a great website to check out! She has more than just these boards too! There are all kinds of animals to give a try!
Jake loved this activity right away! He loves shapes and has a very spacial way of thinking. I printed off a couple of the Christmas Themed boards and put them out with the container of shapes. I thought about pulling  just the shapes we would need but decided against it. I am glad I did not just pull out the shapes because he did not need that extra help. He dug right in and found the shapes he needed!
I told him the name of the shapes he needed for the tree and the color of the shape; green triangle, red trapezoid and orange square. I modeled for him what I wanted him to do by picking up a shape, saying the color and shape, then placing it in the appropriate spot. He picked up on my example and started saying the color and shape when he placed the pieces on the tree. 
I worried about him getting frustrated if the pieces moved, which is inevitable. But he didn't get frustrated at all! He took his time and scooted the pieces back into place if they slipped out. He was so focused that I could see that he had extra energy built up after he carefully, slowly and precisely placed each piece. He released this built up energy by stomping his foot after placing each piece. He did this in a very excited way. It was very interesting! This is the most focused I have ever seen him!
Another interesting thing I noticed, was that he did not place the shapes in any kind of order. My inclination is to start at the top and fill in the squares left to right, top to bottom. He would place one on the bottom then middle top then one next to the second. Just no apparent rhyme or reason. He ended filling in the whole shape but just did it randomly. It made me wonder is this they way he thinks or was I just trained to do it systematically? I did not tell him to do it differently because his method seemed to work just fine!
If you do not have pattern blocks you can certainly find them online or in a teacher store. You could also print two copies of the shape boards and use one to cut out the shapes. Then do the activity with paper shapes. I think Jake would have enjoyed that just as much! Have fun! And don't forget that there are all different kinds of boards to print at PreKinders!


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