Free Patterning Printable for A, B, C, D Fish Theme

Free Patterning Printable for A, B, C, D Fish Theme
Free Pattern Math PDF

Pattern Fish book cover photoThis post has a free patterning printable for A, B, C, D Fish Theme activities and art lesson. Pattern Fishand Pattern Bugs are both written by Trudy Harris who has such excellent pre-math stories for children to build background knowledge for future success and concepts for their math education.  In these books, Trudy Harris uses poetry to engage the children and have them listen for patterning in words.  Wiggle pop, wiggle pop, wiggle pop, wiggle . . . . POP!  

The poems are on one page and just when the children catch on to the pattern, one word is left off.  Turning the page, the missing word is huge, the picture zooms in closely, the children are saying it aloud, and there is an exciting picture.  At the end of Trudy’s books are math explanation pages for teachers and parents.  The entire series of books are so wonderful, and I was sad Minneapolis area libraries only had one copy of PATTERN FISH! One? These are books that would benefit young children so much, I think every library should have at least one copy of each of her books.

Supposedly the USA is behind other countries in math scores, and I know much mathematical understanding could be built in the pre K, and first grade years using child-centered books like this one.

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Patterning Printable for A, B, C, D Fish Theme

Here are some examples of the free 47 page PDF in a pocket chart to give some idea of how the materials could be used.  Have children who may be wearing the patterns come to the front of the class to provide real-life examples of the patterns.  Later, an A B pattern might be +4, +3, +4, +3, +4, +3, and so on.  Have children repeat the words out loud and practice finding patterns.  One day they will start coming to school to quiz you on which patterns they are wearing!

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The A B B pattern will be in number sequences such as +1, +2, +2, and repeat.  Right now, the learning can be kept at a fun and entertaining level.

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I used paint chips to make an A B C D pattern:

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Now for the patterning art.  For the very young or emergent artists, a fish pattern could be provided with lines drawn on the paper for children to stamp in their patterns.  Old chart paper with lines would be great to use for this project.

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For the more independent artist, begin with an oval shape that could be traced by the child:

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Then, the children add the lips (oh, how fun), a tail . . .

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They will need to add fins, of course .  .  .

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Then the children could finish by filling in their own patterns on their pattern fish!


The PDF pages includes more practice for children to practice their skills further.  Here is a one page example of a possible answer.  Several pages of fish and possible answers are included in the PDF, along with pocket chart cards for the teacher or of ab pattern on fish photo

Happy math reading, Carolyn

About the Author:

Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and has completed the KHT Montessori 12 month program. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents.


  1. Deb 06/15/2012 at 5:48 am

    I’m always inspired by your talent in creating printables, Carolyn! Thanks so much for generously sharing your printables! I featured your printable in my Montessori-Inspired Ocean Math Activities at PreK + Sharing:

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 06/15/2012 at 11:45 am

      Dear Deb: You always inspire me, too, Deb. Thank you for writing. Carolyn

  2. Jaci 06/11/2012 at 9:06 am

    I’m envious. I had hoped to head “home” to Minnesota this summer to go to the North American Bear Center in Ely. I used the site with my kinder students to learn about hibernation and watch the den cam of Jewel and the birth of her cubs Herbie and Fern. A video posting today is at

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 06/11/2012 at 6:16 pm

      Dear Jaci: I hope you get to visit Minnesota soon! It is great in the SUMMER! Thanks for the video link. Carolyn

  3. Christy 06/06/2012 at 6:48 pm

    Apparently my local library doesn’t have any copy of those two books, and the four Trudy Harris books they have a for “library use only.” That’s disappointing. I’ll see if I can get them from elsewhere, because your description sounds great.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm 06/07/2012 at 9:34 am

      Dear Christy:
      It is sad the books by Trudy Harris aren’t everywhere! She has great math explanations on the back pages and what she writes makes so much sense and clarifies what is taught in K-2 classrooms. They are available online. She is an overlooked author. Thanks for writing, Carolyn

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