Monday, March 31, 2014

What's My Secret??? How to get kids to think the CCSS way.

That's What I Ask My Students:

First, I sort objects into two groups.  Then, I ask, "What's my secret?" or "How did I sort these?"
You can sort ANYTHING:  Shoes, photographs, even students!

Students take turns telling me about the attributes of each group and they usually come up with labels for my two groups that I didn't even think of!
He put all of the blue bags in one group.

How I Got Started:

I was cleaning out a closet at school and came across over twenty reusable grocery bags.  
I love to use these bags to send home projects to work on with parents, especially at the beginning of the year when I have a lot of things to prep., but twenty-something bags was just too many, so....

...I decided to give them away, but first we could use them to practice our higher level thinking skills.
The students seated were giving suggestions about where to move each bag to create new categories.

What We Did With The Bags:

I tossed each bag on the carpet in front of the students so they could get a look at each bag as it slowly descended to the carpet.  Then, I placed the bags in two circles.  (You can make two circles out of yarn.  These were made from thick Fun Foam.  I won them at a conference one year.)

I asked the students to tell me how I sorted the bags or, "What's my secret?  How did I sort these?"

At first, they came up with things like, "One group has big bags and the other has small bags."  And that was just what I was thinking, but then the magic happened and they started to come up with new ways that these bags were sorted!  

Even More Magic:

Then, they started to move a few bags from one group to the other to create even more categories.  One chid said, "If we move these bags here, then all of this group will have some blue on the bags."  Wow, the oral language development, the higher level thinking, the total group involvement, the FUN!
"And THAT'S  what COMMON CORE  is all about," Charlie Brown!  Getting kids to THINK!  :)

Where Do We Go From Here?

I left the Fun Foam sorting circles out and I plan to overlap them to create a Venn Diagram with a group in the center that has both attributes from each of the side groups.  And I plan to follow-up with our sorting worksheet so students can illustrate groups or glue in photos from magazines to create their own groups.  

Here is the template I use:  
Click the image to see the download.

They may use the colored shapes below or their own illustrations or pictures cut from magazines.

You can use these pieces to get them started with sorting by color or shape.

And my Sorting Template is on sale today!
Click any of the images or HERE to see the download.

See you all tomorrow!
Palma :)


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