Teaching sorting in Kindergarten is important because it teaches children about attributes and relationships. Sorting also promotes logical thinking, and the application of rules. I begin with sorting by color for two reasons-
1. We have just finished a color unit, so the progression into sorting by color is natural.
2. It has been my experience that sorting by color is the easiest attribute for students, so it is a good starting point.
To get this lesson started, I tell the children they are going to learn all about sorting. I explain that there are many ways to sort, and today we will sort by color! We have just finished a color unit, so I let them know they should be color sorting wizards!
I begin with taking a handful of unifix cubes and placing them in front of me. I demonstrate the process of sorting my unifix cubes by color. As I go, I will purposely put a few colors in the wrong group. The kids are very quick to point out that I am not sorting correctly! I ask them to help me correct my mistakes.
We then watch a video on YouTube together about sorting by color. I like this video because the narrator makes the children feel involved. They all answer her when she asks questions! Here is the video:
At this time, I pass out a large handful of unifix cubes to each child. I use the unifix cubes for sorting simply because they come in a variety of colors, and I have a large amount of them.
I ask my students to sort the unifix cubes by color. As students sort, I can walk around and informally assess who is proficient at this skill, and who I may need to pull aside for extra practice. As I am observing and listening to my students, I ask the students who I see struggling to meet me at a back table in the classroom. Once I have made one trip around the classroom, I go back and work with students who were struggling.
After students have sorted their individual piles of unifix cubes, I "challenge" them. I ask children to combine the cubes from everyone at their table, and sort the entire table's cubes by color. This is challenging because each table has approximately 40 unifix cubes to sort. This activity also forces students to work cooperatively. I will make comments such as, "Wow that is really hard. Do you think your table can do that?" Of course the kids begin to sort the massive pile of cubes and prove me wrong!
After the "challenge", we clean up. This lesson is intended to be a brief introduction to sorting by color.