Patterns of Collaboration

By Striker, Susan J. | School Arts, October 1995 | Go to article overview

Patterns of Collaboration


Striker, Susan J., School Arts


A first grade teacher approached me with an interesting request. "Can we think of an art lesson that will reinforce the concept of patterns which the students are studying in math?" The music teacher was asked a similar question. As a result, the classroom teacher and the art, music, math and reading specialists collaborated on a project that reinforced the concept of patterns in their disciplines.

Patterns in Art

In the artroom, I introduced the students to the book Hide and Snake by Keith Baker. In this book, a brightly colored, patterned snake challenges readers to a game of hide and seek as it hides among familiar objects. The objects also are covered with brightly colored patterns--some quite similar to the snake's patterns. This book is fun for young readers. It teaches them about patterns and increases visual discrimination as they begin to notice differences among the patterns.

After studying the patterns on the snake and the objects, I had the students create patterned snakes of their own with brightly colored markers on 9 x 12" (23 x 31 cm) white drawing paper. I suggested that the snake extend from one edge of the paper to the other and that within the parallel lines of the snake's body, each student should create a pattern of repeated shapes. Once the students completed their first snake, they created another with a different pattern and continued until their papers were entirely colored with bright shapes.

Patterns in Music

In music class, the students learned to hear, move to and to sing patterns. To sing a pattern, the music teacher had the students sing "Frere Jacques" and move their hands as the melody moved up and down. She drew the pattern of the melody on the blackboard, so the students could see that their voices sang in a pattern of four repeated sections.

It is easy to hear the melodic musical pattern of Edvard (Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" because it is repeated over and over, getting faster and louder each time to the finale. The students made up their own story to accompany the music as the melody repeated itself. Learning Folk dances also can help children understand repetition and pattern in movement. The "Mexican Hat Dance" is fun to learn and has a simple, repeated dance and clapping pattern.

Patterns in Math

The math specialist introduced pattern blocks--those brightly colored, wooden shapes. Exploring with pattern blocks increases students, analyzing skills and awareness of spatial patterns, laying the foundation for the understanding of more complex number patterns. …

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