Patterning In Grade One

This year in grade one we explore the concept of patterning in many different ways that are meaningful to the children. The children have many opportunities to identify, describe, extend and create repeating patterns.

A pattern is something that is arranged following a rule or rules.In grade one children are expected to create and extend their own patterns using at least one attribute (e.g. colour, shape, size, thickness) by the end of the school year. Patterns often occur naturally in play using materials in the classroom. Children in grade one often use patterns without even thinking about what they are doing. Patterns appear while building with blocks and other building materials, while creating designs with loose parts and math manipulatives or during work with the creative centre materials. I will be supporting your child’s growth in vocabulary related to patterning by pointing out the patterns I see in their work and introducing new terminology that will be the foundation for their future learning.

Patterns appear everywhere in our natural world as well.  The seasons occur in a pattern, the days of the week and the months of the year are a pattern as are many songs and some of the stories that we read at school.  Your child’s ability to recognize and talk about patterns in the natural world (e.g. on flowers), on clothing (e.g. a design on a shirt) or around your home (e.g. floor tiles) will increase throughout the grade one year as she or he becomes more familiar with patterning vocabulary.

Patterns are the foundation of our number system as well.  It is important that children learn to look for patterns in numbers in order to have a good understanding of number sense.

During our morning calendar discussions we regularly look for, talk about and describe the patterns we see on our 100 chart in the classroom and on the calendar. We have many opportunities for patterning when we count by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s and 10’s to 100, both forward and backward.

Making connections to what we are learning in patterning at school is easy to do at home. Try these activities with your child:

-use small materials you have at home to create patterns (e.g. Lego, cutlery, blocks)

-use a calendar and explain what events in your lives occur in a pattern (e.g. work/school days are Monday through Friday but every Saturday and Sunday is a day off;  swimming lessons are on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week) Be sure to talk about what stops the events from being a pattern (e.g. PD Days/Sick Days/Holidays).

-use a 100 chart on the internet to look for patterns as your child counts

-look for patterns in your home on furniture, on walls and flooring and on clothing


Patterning Vocabulary:
core: the smallest part of the pattern that repeats
extend: identify the pattern (the core) and keep repeating it
attribute: characteristic that describes how the object is changing

Data Management

Throughout this year the children will have lots of opportunity to explore the data management portion of the curriculum in math.  In Grade One this math strand focuses on sorting, taking surveys to gather information and using graphs to organize and explain the information gathered.  There are all kinds of ways sorting, survey questions and graphs are used in our world and your child would benefit from having these kinds of things pointed out to him/her as you come across them.  Talk to your child about what you see and what kind of information can be learned if you are looking at a graph. Authentic math experiences are always much more meaningful and help connect the learning we are doing at school to the real world.  

Sorting In The Real World:
-the utensil drawer in your kitchen
-how clothes are put away (sorted by colour to wash but then sorted by person who owns the clothes and often sorted again by type of clothing in the room where the person’s bedroom)
-items in a store (all the fresh fruit is in one part of the store, and it is sorted by type)

Ask your child “what would happen if we didn’t use sorting in our world in these situations?”

Surveys In The Real World:
I am constantly bombarded with survey questions:
-each time I buy a new app for my phone or the school iPad they want to know if I want to rate it
-on websites they want to know information about you before you proceed
-telemarketers often call with government surveys about different things
-people stop you in the grocery store with surveys trying to sell their product
-junk mail often arrives with lengthy surveys about products I purchase at the store

Ask your child “why do you think people want to know information about what kinds of products our family uses in our home?”

Graphs In The Real World:
-the weather page in the newspaper, the weather network and the weather app on a phone are filled with graphs 

-travel books and pamphlets often graph the sunny days on a month by month basis
-magazines are full of graphs to give information in an eye catching way

Ask your child “why did the author use a graph to share the information rather than a paragraph of writing?”

Data Management Vocabulary

Here is some of the vocabulary we will be using when engaged in data management experiences.  Using these words regularly in conversation with your child at home will help him/her understand the concepts being taught more clearly.

sort: grouping items together based on at least one similar attribute
survey: a record of observations gathered
graph: a visual representation of data
pictograph:  a graph that uses pictures and symbols to represent information
concrete graph: a graph that uses real objects to represent information
data:  facts or information gathered from a survey
tally: a mark (line) that is used to collect data (a tally counts information by 5’s; four lines with one across the middle representing 5)
many/most/more: greater in amount, how many more?
less/least: smallest in amount, how many less?
few, fewer, fewest:  a smaller number of
equal: the same amount of

Websites To Visit

Here are some websites and videos to visit to help your child understand the concept of Data Management.

Graph And Tally

Graphing Bugs

Graph Game

Data Games

Canadian Paediatric Society Videos About Mental Health

The following descriptions and videos are located on the YouTube channel of the Canadian Paediatric Society. Please take a moment to view the 2 videos as they contain current and valuable information about the different things that impact mental health.

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body. As a parent, you play an important role in your children’s mental health. You can promote good mental health by the things you say and do, and through the environment you create at home.

Parents and caregivers play a big role in fostering their child’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is how people feel about themselves, both inside and out. People with good self-esteem generally have a positive outlook, accept themselves and feel confident. Children need to feel loved and accepted to build self-esteem.

Proper Letter Formation

We are beginning to demonstrate to the children that there are proper ways to form letters. This is very difficult to do in a whole class setting as we only have one set of eyes and often while helping redirect one child another child is working incorrectly. This is something that must be practiced over and over in order to make it a “Brain Habit”. Repetitive movements used in letter formation help to give the brain an accurate image of the letter shape. Letter formation basically is composed of straight lines and circle shapes. All letter shapes are formed from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. By using exaggerated whole arm movements (making letters in the air) and the sense of touch (writing with the palm of the hand or a finger on a large flat surface ) and by encouraging these movements to be made, at times, with the eyes closed (to reduce visual confusion), the motor movements, or patterns of letter formation can be learned. If letter formation is automatic, memory and thinking is “freed up” to cope with the other skills needed, the auditory/visual/spatial aspects of writing. To give an analogy, think of learning how to drive a car for the first time, particularly a standard shift. Initially one has to worry about the movements of the stick shift, steering, learning how to work the clutch and brake pedals, remembering to check rear and side mirrors, road rules, etc. Once the stick shift movements become automatic, as they do with repetitive practice, one is free to concentrate on the other aspects of driving. Children with automatic letter formation can concentrate on the other aspects of writing.

We will begin our learning by making lines.  Lines always start at the top and go straight down. Next we will work on making slanted lines. Slanted lines always start at the top and go down. FInally we will work on making circles to practice the curved letters.  When making circles your child should start around the 2:00 position on a clock so that they are ready to make letters such as s and c that are curved.

We will be sending home a paper about how to properly form letters for your reference.  Please take some time to help your child learn to correctly form letters so that he or she finds writing a less daunting task.

Take a look at us sitting with our feet flat on the floor and using one hand to keep the paper from moving!

Measurement In Grade One

This year in grade one we will be exploring the concept of measurement in many different ways that are meaningful to the children.  The children will have many opportunities to measure, compare and describe lengths, heights, weight, the passage of time, and changes in temperature.

  • We will be keeping a monthly Growth Observation Book to keep track of, and compare, our height over time. Each month the children will use small non-standard objects such as unifix cubes to record their height.  They will use string to measure themselves and compare their growth with their friends.  Measuring with small objects helps students build an understanding of measurement that will be useful later when they learn to use standard units (eg. centimetres and metres) and measuring tools such as rulers and measuring tapes. While using these non-standard materials measurement terms such as longer, shorter, taller, and the same as will become part of your child’s regular math vocabulary.
  • We will be using our classroom clock (analogue) and our hallway clocks (digital) to determine the times of our nutrition breaks and other classroom events and to figure out how much time we have left to do something.
  • During our morning calendar discussions, we will often use the Weather Network School Day Forecast (Click For Link) for our school in order to talk about the weather and changes in temperature.  This link will be useful in helping us decide how to dress appropriately based on the weather and how changes in the weather throughout the day may affect our clothing choices.  We will also be discussing how the temperature affects our classroom tree and other things we observe outside our wonder window during our outdoor exploration times and community walks.
  • Throughout our school day we often visit our classroom calendar (on the blog and posted in the room) and our daily visual schedule to discuss the passage of time over the day, the week, the month and even the year.  We will continually look back over the events of the year by revisiting previous month’s calendars in order for the children to build a better understanding of the passage of time.  We will create timelines of our lives later this year to better help your child understand this concept which is also part of the Social Studies Curriculum.

Making connections to what we are learning in measurement at school is easy to do at home. Try these activities with your child:

  • Use everyday situations to compare and describe lengths, heights, and areas of objects. Ask questions such as: Will this box fit on the shelf? How much ribbon do we need to wrap this present? How can we put these books on the shelf? In order of height?
  • Use measurements to solve mysteries about people in your household. Find out who is the tallest, who has the shortest foot, and so on. Encourage your child to suggest a way to solve each mystery.
  • Have your child make a personal measuring tape by linking 10 paperclips together. Go on a scavenger hunt to find things that are longer, shorter, and about the same length as the paper clip measuring tape.
  • Talk/think aloud as you use the calendars and clocks in your home.  Your child will develop the skills necessary to use these tools if he or she is involved with them regularly.  Showing them what 5 minutes (or other amounts of time) looks like on the clock may help them become more patient when waiting for you as well!
  • Use a scale to weigh your child and fruits and vegetables in the grocery store and involve him or her in vet visits so he or she can see how different people use scales.