Building on the concept of sorting, I begin my lesson by reading a picture book: Sorting by Henry Arthur Pluckrose. I really like this book to encourage discussion. The photographs get students thinking about how they would sort the items shown, which leads to some higher level thinking.
I give each child a copy of the Fruit Loops Sorting Page. Many children will not be able to read the colors on this page, so before we move to independent practice, as a whole group we color each of the circles on our paper as indicated. Students are encouraged to give it a try by identifying the first letter of the word. For example, the circle with "red". What letter does this word start with? What sound does the letter "r" make? Can anyone think of a color that starts with that sound? This works best if you can project the work page, and point to each circle as we move across the sheet.
Students are then given a paper cup filled with Fruit Loops cereal. I model for the children how to sort the Fruit Loops by color on their sorting page. As the students sort, I move about the room observing more than interacting. I want students to productively struggle, rather than turning immediately to someone else for help. If a student's work is off course, I use questioning to help them see their own error. Some questioning stems that are useful are:
I notice that...
When you ... how does it ....?
How do you know what ....?
Can you show me....?
When sorting is complete, the student will put a thumb in the air for me to come check their work. It is very important to explain to the students that they are not allowed to eat any cereal until the teacher has checked their work. Part of my check-in is to ask the student to count. I do not point, instead I ask, "How many red ones?" This allows me to observe whether the child knows their color word. I also watch closely to see what counting strategy is used. The goal is that students "pull off" or touch each piece as they count (K.CC.4a). After a student announces their count, it is important to ask again, "How many?" This may seem redundant, but I'm checking to see if a student understands that the last number of a count represents a total quantity (K.CC.4b).
Once I have reviewed the sorting, students are allowed to eat the cereal. Fruit Loops are nut free which make them easy to use in a classroom with allergies.