I should’ve known better. Just because she “mastered” something a few months ago doesn’t mean I shouldn’t return to it. But that’s what happened. As soon as Isabelle mastered basic patterns, I stopped working on patterns at home. Because, you know, there are about 50 other things that need to be worked on. I should’ve revisited them, at least a little bit, but patterns seemed to slip my mind since other things like /l/ blends and writing uppercase letters seem to be more top-of-mind these days.
Yesterday, we were playing with pegs at home. There was a purple peg, then a blue peg, then a purple peg, then a blue peg. “What comes next?” Isabelle couldn’t answer. She didn’t realize the purple peg would come next in the patterns. We tried again with different colors. Again, she was unable to correctly answer which peg came next. My heart sank. Why couldn’t she generalize the pattern work we had done several months ago to what she was working on now?
This morning, I walked into Isabelle’s play room where she was playing with Legos. I inserted myself into her play using errorless teaching to help her with identifying patterns with the Legos to minimize frustration. It worked, but she didn’t really want to do patterns.
“I don’t like patterns. Patterns are not good!” Isabelle declared.
“Oh, I love patterns. Patterns are so interesting. And they’re everywhere. Look at your dress. The polka dots are in a pattern?”
“Yes, they are. They repeat over and over again.”
“Oh. Well, I still don’t like patterns. Patterns are not good.”
“I used to teach my fourth and fifth graders about patterns. They loved learning about patterns. In fact, I have a book I use with kids when I work in schools about patterns. It’s a book for bigger kids so I’m not sure you’d be interested in it.”
I gave her a sideways glance. She was looking at me so I continued.
“It’s a book about patterns for big kids. I used it with some six- and seven-year-olds this year. Would you like to see my big kid book on patterns?”
I was expecting a no. But instead I got a “Yes! Show me!”
Even though we were going to be a little late for camp if I showed her the book, I hustled to my office to grab I See a Pattern Here by Bruce Goldstone. She loved the full-color photographs on the first two page spreads, which is all we got to this morning since it took her awhile to complete the bead patterns, using the errorless teaching method, on the page spread pictured above.
“Would you like to look at more pages now?”
“After camp. Let’s do patterns after camp.”
“Okay,” I said. “Go get your socks and shoes on.”
We got through two page spreads of Goldstone’s book with no yelling and no tears. We have a long way to go, but at least she was willing to work with me this morning, right?