Sorting Any Way You Like It!

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SWBAT sort objects by color, size or kind or a combination and explain their thinking by sorting a container of mixed objects.

Big Idea

Kindergartners like autonomy and this is one lesson where they get to call the shots. The goal of this lesson is for them to be able to explain how they sorted the objects (MP3).

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 review sorting by color with the kids by using Fuzzy Bugs on ABCya!.

We review the other ways we can sort objects and I have kids volunteer to explain how to sort objects in ways other than by color.

We discuss sorting by size and what makes something small, medium and large. I suggest to the kids that we can sort our sorting manipulatives by size, which sparks a quick discussion. We then discuss sorting by kind and I sort a cup of different size and color shapes under the doc cam (circles, squares, triangles and squares).

I tell them that today they are welcome to sort objects any way they like as long as they are able to explain to me how they are sorting them (MP3).

Guided Instruction

10 minutes

Since this is the last lesson in this unit, the kids are comfortable sorting. I do not provide guided instruction for this lesson. I review with them during the direct instruction and that serves as the guided portion of this lesson.


I do provide guided instruction for anyone struggling with any concept of sorting. I pull them into a small group and work with them on the floor or my intervention table. I guide them through all the concepts of sorting one at a time until I feel they are ready to try on their own. I then ask them to sort by one type at a time at random.

For instance:

Each student is given a cup of objects to sort.

Me: Sort your objects by color.

Kids: They sort by color as I observe and correct if needed.

Me: (Kids are finished) Very good. Now sort your objects by shape.

Kids: They sort by color as I monitor.

Me: Good job. Now sort by kind. (This one is the most difficult for them). I monitor closely and provide support when needed. For some reason, some kids struggle with putting different color and different size objects together even though they are the same kind (e.g. all sheep).

I do this with them for as long as they need in order to be independent.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

All the kids able to sort independently are asked to do so immediately after direct instruction. Each table has a container of sorting objects in the middle. The kids are instructed to go back to their seats one table at a time (I label my tables by color). They are told to keep their hands in their laps until asked to begin sorting.

I remind them that they are to sort their objects any way they would like.

They are asked to begin sorting. I roam the room to make sure they are off to a smooth start and then I gather my struggling group. I follow the guided practice procedures as outlined in the section above.

Once the guided group is able to work on their own, I send them to their tables to work. I then begin roaming the room again and asking kids how they are sorting their objects and explain how they are doing it (MP3, MP4, MP5).


10 minutes

In order to keep the focus on the math, which will provide kids the objective of the activity to share with their families, we gather back on the floor and I chose a few random kids (pulling names from a name stick can) to explain how they sorted their objects and what they were thinking when the did it.

The kids are encouraged to ask questions of each other during the closure for clarification and clear communication of ideas.