Sorting By Shape

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Students will be able to compare objects and sort objects by shape.

Big Idea

Sorting is an important foundational skills for kindergarten students to learn. Using attribute blocks to sort by shape helps students practice comparing objects and prepares them to sort measurable attributes.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day 4 Notebook File on the SMART Board and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  (There is a copy of these slides as a pdf if you don't have access to SMARTBoard.)

Look at the chairs.  How are they alike?"  I call one or two students to say how the chairs are alike.  Answers could include the shape of the chairs or that they have 4 legs. 

"How are they different?"  I call one or two students to say how they are different.  Answers could include the color or that one has a colored circle behind it. 

I then ask, "How are the chairs in our classroom the same?  How are they different?"  I have several students answer these questions and show examples of the chairs in our classroom.

I tell students, "Today we will be comparing objects, and we will be paying close attention to the shape of the objects."

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start the lesson with this song called "2D Shapes I Know."  This gets the students thinking about shapes and helps students who do not know the names of the four basic shapes. 


When the song is finished, I have student move into a circle and remind them to sit with their bottoms on the hard floor so that there is room for everyone.  I also remind students that when we are doing an activity in the circle, they need to keep their hands to themselves and stay seated so that everyone can see and pay attention. 

"Today we are going to compare these attribute blocks.  We are going to sort them.  Sort means to group things together that have something in common.  We are going to put the attribute blocks together that are the same shape.  Their shape will be what they have in common."

I put a square into the yellow sorting circle and a triangle into the red sorting circle.  I hand a square to a student and have him or her place it into the correct sorting circle.  I continue with more square and triangle attribute blocks until all students have gotten a turn.  Several times throughout the activity, I ask "Why did you put the attribute block in that circle?"  When all of the attribute blocks have been sorted, I ask, "How did we sort these attribute blocks?"  (We sorted by shape.)

I then tell students that we will be practicing this on a Shape Sorting worksheet.  I think that students learn better by sorting with manipulatives, but taking the time to do a short worksheet each day helps the students learn basic paper pencil skills.  This worksheet also helps students practice other fine motor skills including cutting and pasting.  

I show students the paper and say, "We will be doing some of this paper together, and you will be doing some of it on your own.  When you get to your seats, you need to get out your pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  Prior to the lesson, I use a highlighter to write student names on papers for students who are unable to write their name.

I hand each student a paper and they walk back to their seats.  While the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMART Board.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say cut out the shapes.  Sort and glue into the boxes below."  I tell students to put their pencils away and take our their scissors and glue sticks.  I model on the SMARTBoard how to cut the paper on the dotted lines to separate the shapes.   I call up a students to pick out a shape and put it in the correct box.  I ask, "Why did you put the triangle in that box?"  (It is a triangle.  The small picture at the top of that box is a triangle.) 

I continue with three more shapes, using this dialogue and release the students to finish the work on their own.  I say, "When you have finished.  Put your scissors and glue away and put any scraps of paper in the trash."  I show the students the paper tray in the front of the room.  I remind them that when they are finished with math papers, they will be putting them in this tray to be checked. I model how to walk up to the tray and lay my paper in it correctly so that other papers can lay flat on top of it.  I ask students to return to their seats and put their heads down until their classmates have finished.


15 minutes

I tell students, "Now we are going to practice sorting some more shapes."  I show students plastic trays filled with attribute blocks, and say, "We are going to sort these attribute blocks by shape just like we did on the carpet, but you will have more than two shapes to sort.  Remember you need to group the objects that are the same shape."  Like my color tiles, I have some attribute blocks that are plastic and some that are foam.  Both work, but the foam ones are much quieter when the student put their hands in the tray.  I review the rules for group work.

Share the materials in the tray.

Materials are to be pulled out as needed. (The tray does not need to be dumped out.) 

Talk in quiet voices. 

I remind students that when the clean up song comes on, they need to put all of their materials back into the tray and put their heads down.  I have students return to their seats and give each table a tray of attribute blocks.  I circulate throughout the room to ensure that students are sorting.  I use the remaining time to pull students to complete our beginning of the year baseline assessment.  To clean up, I turn on the clean up song.  I use Dr. Jean’s Tidy Up.  It is on her All Day Long album.


5 minutes

I close this lesson by inviting students back up to the carpet.  I turn on the projector and document camera and let several students share their work on the screen.  The students like getting to "Be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMARTBoard.  I mention positive things that I noticed during the practice time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we talked about sorting by shape.  This means putting things in groups that are the same shape.  Tomorrow, we are going to look at some other things that can be sorted by shape."