Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Make Your Own Pattern Pull!

Barbara Novelli, one of the wonderful speakers I saw this weekend at the Northwest Math Conference, briefly showed us what she called a "pattern holder." Basically, it was a sleeve made of stiff paper (think posterboard) that she pulled pattern strips through. The pattern strips were permanent, each created to show a particular pattern. I'm sure she had a lot of them; I would think that each strip could be used in one sitting with one group of kids before being set aside until the next year.

I'm far too lazy to create that many unique strips. So I decided to modify a bit. Like Barbara, I created the long sleeve from posterboard so that I could pull strips through, slowly revealing each picture as children make predictions about the picture(s) to follow. But rather than making a lot of permanent pattern strips, I made a pattern holder. I cut up one heavyweight presentation sheet protector and made a transparent pocket on the front of a strip of posterboard. The pocket is designed to hold little cards.

I then went to my local dollar store and picked up one package of wall borders. I cut them up so that I had a multitude of pictures that could be arranged and rearranged to form patterns. This way, I can insert them into the transparent pocket to form anything from simple ABAB patterns to more complex ABCABC or ABBABB patterns, etc. Additional patterns could be made from photos of children (boy-girl-boy-girl or long hair, short hair) or by cutting 3x5" notecards in half and adding stickers or stamps.

I made a short video to demonstrate. Hope you enjoy. I'd love to hear your comments. ;) And do check out past entries exploring patterns. Especially this one that uses the book Pattern Bugs and includes a bunch of hands-on pattern activities.

And with this post, love2learn2day celebrates the 500th Google Friend follower!! THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE! :)


  1. Love this tutorial! Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm going to need to pull out all my old borders.

  2. I like this. Thank you. I've been doing something very similar for years. I call them pattern trains. If you go to my blog and click on the math label, I believe it's the 3rd or 4th posting. Have a great day!

    Grade ONEderful

  3. Wooh hoo!! 500 followers! Congrats!

    You are an incredible mother and educator.


  4. What a great idea. You are not lazy- incredibly smart and resourceful!

  5. how did you assemble the pocket holder? I don't see any tape marks...

  6. Plenty of tape marks. ;) Just doesn't show on the video. I cut the two long sides of a page protector to make most of the pocket and had to add a little section in the middle. I used clear packing tape to hold the entire thing together. I'm sure there is a better/prettier way, but it seems to do the job.

  7. And thank you, everyone, for such nice comments! ;)

  8. Cindy I love this idea, I teach 4K and look forward to making this and trying it out with my class.

  9. I love your tutorials! I have some leftover borders from my teaching days and I was wondering what I should do with them. Thanks for sharing such wonderful, clever ideas!


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