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Pattern Strips

Pattern Strips allow you to use your selected pictures in a pattern. For example if you selected apple, banana, and other various fruits, the first pattern will be an AB pattern: apple, banana, apple, banana, etc. There are three rows of the beginning of different patterns. The patterns are followed by boxes for the student to complete the rest of the pattern. Extra pictures to fill in the pattern are at the bottom of the page. 

(Sample of Halloween Vocabulary Pattern Strip)


Creating the Materials:

In creating materials, a teacher may select pictures according to a theme or concept. A speech pathologist may choose pictures with specific phonemes or multi-syllable words for articulation practice. The strips can be cut by row  along with the small pictures and laminated.

(Sample of TH and F Minimal Pairs Pattern Strip)


To attach the pictures:

  • Velcro- The small pictures may be attached with velcro for the children to continue the pattern in the boxes.
  • Magnets- Lay the pattern strips on a cookie sheet. Attach magnet to the back of the small pictures used to continue the pattern. Have the students place the magnetic pictures to continue the pattern. (Great with gingerbread or food themes).
  • Glue stick- In small group, give each child a pattern strip and place the small pictures in the middle of the table. Have the students determine which pictures they need to continue their pattern.


Classroom Use:

Full Group: Use velcro to create reusable materials and make class charts with the pattern strips. During full group lessons, call on students to complete the pattern. This may be good introduction before students work on their own independently or with a peer(s).

Small Group: Place pattern strips in the center of a table for students to complete in small group time.

Center: Place pattern strips according to the theme or unit of study in a bin in a math center.

Table work: Place pattern strips on one of the table during arrival. As students enter the classroom, pattern strips may be one activity students can choose as they wait for their peers to arrive, unpack, and get ready to begin the day.

Use with Manipulatives / Objects: You may create patterns with colored shapes and have students use different manipulatives with the colored pattern strips. For example, use squares and have student use colored blocks, use circles and have students use colored wood beads to pattern, or use various shapes and have students use pattern blocks.  Also, teachers can create pattern strips with pictures that match small manipulatives or objects in the classroom. For example, use colored bears or small cars. In creating a collection of pictures for pattern strips, you can often change the color (or style- to black and white to color yourself) of each picture in the LessonPix library.   

Peer Buddy: Pair student to complete sets of pattern strips. Encourage the pair to say each pattern aloud as they work together to complete it.

Differentiated Instruction: Teachers can differentiate instruction by using simpler patterns with some students and more challenging patterns with higher level students. This allows the teacher to scaffold the patterning lesson to meet individual levels of learning.

Smartboard / Interactive Whiteboard:  Prior to the lesson, create a notebook software lesson with the same patterns and pictures. In a collection, you can click on individual pictures used to make your pattern strip, and drag them into notebook software or a word document. Create the beginning of the same patterns and leave extra pictures at the bottom of the page for the children to drag to complete their pattern.
During the lesson, give pattern strips to the students in a small group setting as they sit by the smartboard. Look at the pattern and have the students complete their pattern strip. Then have one students show on the whiteboard how to complete the pattern. This will reinforce learning the pattern and vocabulary by not only figuring it out by themselves, but also saying it out loud together.   

Free Sample of Fall Leaves Pattern Strips