Sorting Out Friends

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SWBAT watch a video to deepen understanding of the big idea. SWBAT sort characteristics into what friends DO and what friends DO NOT.

Big Idea

We do need friends!

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes

Ten Little Friends Song


I show the students this song and video on the SmartBoard.  We sing the song with the video and count up and down on our fingers.  


I like this song because it is basic enough for my second language learners and has a slow enough pace where they can actually participate and sing along.  Counting up and down on their fingers keeps them engaged and focused.

Interact with text

45 minutes


Rainbow Fish video

I read Rainbow Fish or I show this video of the book.  I really like the video because there is music in the background and a nice sing along chorus that is added throughout that summarizes what is happening in the story!

Also, We see multi media addressed throughout Common Core.  As our students get older and we prepare them for college and career, it will be important for them to be comfortable with different forms of media.  We also want them to be able to listen for information and be actively engaged through media.  Presenting the story through video meets all of those needs!

Extend Understanding

20 minutes

Friends Sorting


Whole group warm up (We do together)

Students will be distinguishing between actions that show friendship and actions that do not show friendship.  I precut the cards and put them in a baggie.  I begin with students on the carpet with me in a whole group so that I can model expectations.

I begin: Today you will be thinking about how friends act.  How they behave.  What do friends do?  What do friends not do?  I want you to think about those questions and raise your hand when you have an example of what a friend does.  (take student suggestions)  Think about what a friend DOES NOT do an raise your hand if you can give me an example of something a friend WOULD NOT do to you.  (take student suggestions)

I show the students the baggie with the cards in it  and the tree map and say: Today I am going to give you a baggie of cards with a tree map.  Let's look at the tree map and read what it says so we know what we are sorting.  I read the tree map with students and discuss as necessary.  At this time of year my students have some experience with tree maps, so this is fairly straight forward for them.

I continue: Now that we know what we are sorting, let's look at our cards and decide where we should put them on the tree map and why we should put them there.  Remember, we always make decisions based on evidence!

We sort two of the cards as a whole group.  I randomly pull out each card and we analyze where it should go on the tree map and why.  I am looking for student reasoning skills and giving them practice in stating why they are making the decision they are making.  I challenge students with "Why would you put that card there?"  and "Have you ever experienced this or seen it in a story?"  I think aloud and I these questions prompt students to think aloud.  Thinking aloud allows students to hear the perspective of others.

After we do two examples, I ask the students: Does anyone have any questions about what you are doing?  (take questions and clarify for understanding)

I move students into groups of two or four around the room.  I like them to work on the carpet because I can monitor all groups more readily, but this activity can work just as well with groups at tables or desks.




Small group work (You do together)

 I release students to work in small groups.  Each group recieves a baggie with the precut cards and a tree map.  As they are working, I monitor and assist where necessary.  I prompt students with the same question prompts as before: "Why would you put that card there?"  and "Have you ever experienced this or seen it in a story?" 


When groups are finished sorting, I pull them back together into a whole group.  We discuss where we put the cards and why.  I stress the 'why' portion so that students are always citing evidence for their decisions.  Evidence based learning is a large focus in Common Core and we can really address it throughout our day, even in activities like this one!




Gradual Release of Responsibility

Gradual release of responsibility gives students the scaffolded support they need to be successful in learning and tasks.  I start with a 'We do together' to set the expectations and students move to 'You do together' where they are responsible for their learning.  However, they have the support of their peers, and this better prepares them for the 'You do independently' tasks that come with being soley accountable.  I don't use that step here, but it is a part of every students' learning at some point!