Sorting by the Rainbow

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SWBAT understand how to sort objects by color.

Big Idea

Kinders love animals and in this activity they have a farm with animals of every color of the rainbow and they got all mixed up! Their job is to sort them back into their color barns.

Daily Calendar and Counting Review

15 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon.  This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a  “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.

Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched "Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.


Direct Instruction

10 minutes

I begin this lesson by asking the class if they have ever sorted anything. Most of the kids raise their hand in confirmation that they have. I choose two or three kids to share what they've sorted and how (fruit, clothes, buttons). I do this to get them thinking about what it means to sort and different ways they can sort.

Next I show them this video on YouTube, Sorting Apples by Color by Mr. Mike TV.

I fast-forward through the intro because it is long and kind of silly. I aslo pause throughout the video to allow the kids to share what they think out (they love to yell out as a group) before the video shows the correct answer. 

We then play Fuzzy Sort on ABCya!

Since this concept is relatively simple, the majority of the kids catch on quickly and are crazy excited about getting to sorting on their own. I show the video to hook them and get them interested in the upcoming activity.

Guided Instruction

10 minutes

The guided practice is quick and simple. I use the doc cam to demonstrate the activity the kids are about to do.

I place a container of animals in a variety of kind, color and size under the doc cam. I then ask the kids to help me sort them by color only. I use a jar of names written on popsicle sticks to choose volunteers to help me sort the animals by color. I use the jar of sticks to avoid favoritism and subconscious bias. All students are chosen to help at random.

Once we have sorted all the animals by color, I explain that each table will be receiving a large container of objects to sort. Some are animals, some forms of transportation, some shapes.  I tell them that when I ask them to begin, I want them to take the objects and sort them by color. I am very firm about behavior and expectations as it raises the accountability level and participation level of the students. They may be little, but they can and will work well and meet high expectations.

I send them to go sit at their tables by calling one table at a time. My tables are labeled by color (red, blue, orange, yellow, green).

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Since the kids catch on to this concept so quickly, I have them get right to work once the containers of objects are set out on the tables. They get the full 20 minutes to sort. They can choose to sort as a table team or as individuals. I do this because this concept is a simple one and the kids who prefer to work independently from time to time can do that successfully and safely with this activity.

 As the kids sort, I roam the room monitoring behavior, good use of work time, and asking kids what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Exit Ticket

5 minutes

Their actual sorting work is the exit ticket for this lesson. Ten minutes before the end of the work time, I ask each child one at a time what they sorted and how. Since this is their first sorting job and it's so simple, it takes only a few seconds per child to get them to explain their thinking.

Five minutes before the end of the work time, the students are asked to clean up and return their containers one table at a time as they go sit on the floor for closure. The table captain of the day carries the container while the other kids from the table go sit down on the carpet area.


5 minutes

Once the kids are gathered on carpet, I ask for volunteers to share out what they learned from the activity and what they liked about it. I also ask them if they had any suggestions for improvement.

Allowing the kids time to reflect on the activity does two things. 1) Brings the thinking back to the objective rather than the manipulatives or game. Students will now go home and say, "I sorted by color" rather than, "I played with little animals."  And 2) creates buy-in. When the kids have a say in the activities, they are more likely to participate with cognition and enthusiasm. They realize they are a part of a team and success becomes important to them.

For this lesson, one of my kids suggested that I label bowls or cups with color names so they could sort their objects into the bowls. I will arrange for this to happen in a future lesson so the kids feel validated and can know I take their suggestions seriously.