April 9, 2012

Patterns Aren't Important

Kindergarten's curriculum eliminated patterns. In the past, patterns have been a big part of the math curriculum. New data shows that patterns aren't increasing math comprehension. Being asked to align with the common core, I also eliminated teaching patterns in art.

This student was totally engrossed in the process of printing his patterns.
What happened next I didn't expect. I noticed that my students work lacked balance, repetition and harmony. I don't formally teach the Principals of Design to Kindergarten but even the smallest children somehow create balance and harmony in their art work. This year, though, something was missing. How could I get the students to use principals of design like repetition, balance and harmony without teaching the principals of design. PATTERNS! 
I'm not claiming that the elimination of patterns in the curriculum has been the sole reason for the rushed unbalanced, "is this right?" work but I don't think it helps. 

I love patterns. I love predictability, balance, harmony, poetry, music, textiles, and nature. But it is necessary to teach patterns in Kindergarten? What do you think? I would love to be persuaded otherwise because I really shouldn't be teaching them!

Here is the beginning of the KINDERGARTENER'S WEAVING PROJECT.
This is the paper loom that Kindergarteners stamped a pattern on. This will become the paper loom
See where the student started with patterns?

When did repetition become a bad word?
Isn't repetition how we learn?

I added popsicle sticks to foam dollar store shapes.
I slit a hole with an exacto and had helpers put the sticks in the shapes.
The kids LOVED them and when I brought the tray out they all gasped,
"lollipops!" Very academic I know!
Where you see a pattern is where I helped this student.

The reason I smile at work! Stella gives me a nice big hug every morning. Nick happened to catch Stella snuggling me this morning with his cell phone. When I get to work I miss Stella, but I get to spend the day with someone else's children. It makes me want to treat them like my own because I know they are (or in some cases DESERVE TO BE) someone's very special light. I am just trying to help them shine. 


Marcia Beckett said...

I think patterns and repetition are part of the core art principles.. and I don't think everything needs to tie to the academic curriculum, so I say go ahead and teach patterns!

Plus that lesson you showed introduces the printmaking process.

Unknown said...

Thanks Marcia! I feel the same way! They are asking us to tie EVERYTHING into the common core english and math standards. This is very abstract as you can imagine. I hope it either goes with the rest of the short lived initiatives in the round file or gets revamped to do what it should. I LOVE the idea of everyone being on the same page, but we need more right brain thinkers working on educational reform.

Lynola said...

Teach patterns! They are so fun and there are so many amazing math-art connections. I love them, my students love them, and I am still going to teach them in my Kindergarten classroom (Granted, our school has not adopted the common core standards, so I have more leeway)

Paintedpaper said...

I think patterns are so important! You see them every where for architecture- Greek art, to textiles. Remember Art first then the common core standards to supplement. I love your comment on teaching-yes I think that everyday! Hug that beautiful baby as much as you can :)

Anonymous said...

Ditto, Ditto, Ditto!!!! I am a Pattern-a-holic from the word go and I can garandamtee you that the Educational Eggheads who wrote the Common Core standards never took an art class in their sad little lives!


Phyl said...

I can't imagine NOT teaching patterns in Kindergarten. After vacation I am asking my kindergarten teachers whether this is a change they are making in THEIR curriculum (if it is, I haven't heard it yet).

Patterns seem so BASIC to so many things - art, music, architecture, fashion design, interior design, math(YES - I don't buy the idea that learning patterns doesn't impact math learning), dance, poetry, and so on... and so on...

Do it even if it doesn't 'align' with your curriculum. Who says we can't teach MORE than what is there? We teach kids to use their right brains. WHAT can be more important than that??

Hannah- Art.Paper.Scissors.Glue! said...

As with everyone else, I am slightly obsessed with patterns, from the literal translation of making patterns to the more physical concept of doing repetition in their work process. I find it crazy that anyone would deem this UNimportant.

Honestly, I would keep doing what you're doing. YOU are obviously the accredited art professional, who are they to say what works best with your students and situation? If your district is anything like mine, they overlook us anyways, and just make sure we're not causing too much trouble.

Katie Morris said...

I can't believe you are supposed to tie EVERYTHING to standards for another subject! I support some of the gen ed concepts in the art room, but I always start with the Art standards, not the other way around. I figure I'm responsible for the Visual Arts standards, and others are extra. I have a general idea of what kinds of things are being studied in the gen ed classroom, but I can't say that I've ever read their standards. Though we did have a whole morning of in-service last week about how to read the new common core standards, not how to use them.

Kat said...

I think it's wonderful that you are giving your children what you know they need. And, in a few years, when the powers that be change their minds about patterns, you can just smile.

Anna Pietrolungo, Essendon North Primary School said...

I totally agree with you... we must teach pattern. We are lucky here in Australia. Although we will be expected to follow a National Curriculum soon, it is very general in its content, therefore it gives educators freedom to take their teaching content and explore. Our aim is to individualise our teaching. I've only touched on patterns with my younger students. I love your comment about how you treat your students as if they were your own. At times I come across challenging students and I get through it by thinking this is someone's child. We have such an important job. Every day is completely different.. although it's overwhelming at times, it's satisfying and I love it..

Christie - Fine Lines said...

It's hard to believe that PATTERN would not be part of the curriculum. Since it is the basis for our number system, I would think it would be part of any math curriculum and thus, a natural for integration into all related subject areas. Amazing!! I will have to ask our kindergarten teachers if they have heard of similar changes in our District!!!