EL Support Lesson

How Do You Know the Shape?

In this fun music and text inspired lesson plan your students will love making their own shape pictures as they learn all about 2D shapes! It can be used on its own or as support for the lesson Fingerpaint and Fun with Shapes.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fingerpaint and Fun with Shapes lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Fingerpaint and Fun with Shapes lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify 2D shapes.


Students will be able to explain how to identify 2D shapes based on their defining characteristics using tactile supports.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for the lesson.
  • Ask students to identify shapes that they already know.
  • Play the "Kindergarten Shapes" song.
  • Say, "Today we are going to be learning more about shapes!"
(5 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book Big Box of Shapes.
  • Pause as you read to ask students guiding questions about the story and 2D shapes: "What kind of shape is this? How do you know? What are they making with the square and triangle?"
  • As you read, point out the attributes of each shape.
  • Model drawing each shape on the board. Say the name aloud and invite students to repeat the shape name after you.
(5 minutes)
  • Create an anchor chart titled "2D Shapes" and display the Vocabulary Cards on the chart for reference.
  • Hold up the triangle Vocabulary Card and draw a triangle on the board. Invite students to trace the shape of a triangle in the air, while saying "triangle" aloud.
  • Ask, "How do we know this is a triangle?"
  • Tell students to turn and talk to share ideas with a partner using the sentence starter, "I know this is a triangle because ____." Then ask students to think about places they have seen that shape in the world (e.g., a roof of a building or a pizza slice).
  • Invite pairs to share ideas with the group.
  • Repeat with remaining shapes.
(15 minutes)
  • Display the pattern blocks and explain that students will now get to work with a partner to make their very own shape pictures, just like in the story!
  • Review the steps for the activity:
    • Each partner picks 5 pattern blocks (using at least two kinds of shapes).
    • Each partner uses their shapes to create a picture. Then they trace the shapes on paper to capture their picture.
    • Partners should explain to one another what shapes they used in their pictures and how they know which shape is which (e.g., a triangle has 3 sides).
  • Review any independent work procedures.
  • Pass out student materials.


  • Allow students to use their home language (L1) to describe shape atrributes and shape names.
  • Work in a small teacher-led group to practice identifying shapes while creating shape pictures.


  • Invite students to draw their own shape pictures without using pattern blocks. Ask students to share with a partner which shapes they chose.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room during independent work time to assess if students are able to identify the shapes they use in their pictures.
  • Ask guiding questions to assess student understanding: "What shapes did you use? How do you know? How is different from ?"
  • Take note of any misconceptions or areas of confusion to address during the closing or in a follow-up lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together.
  • Display student work around the classroom and invite students to follow you on a gallery walk to view the finished shape pictures.
  • Ask students to share out what shapes they see.
  • Have students turn and talk to share with a partner one shape they used in their shape picture and how they used it (as time allows).
  • Provide students with a sentence frame to support their language development, "I used ____ to build ____." (e.g., "I used a triangle and a square to build a house.")

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