Shapes, Numbers, and Letters, Oh My!
Students will be able to recognize different types of categories, such as categories by number, letter, shape, color, size, or similar properties and attributes. Students will be able to explain and justify why certain objects belong with a chosen category.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Introduce the lesson by asking students to participate in an identification activity of the things that don’t belong.
- Display the What Does Not Belong: Shapes, Letters, and Numbers worksheet on an interactive whiteboard, or use a printed copy.
- Invite students to find the objects that don’t belong and justify their thinking.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)
- Use the SMART Board file or PDF teacher modeling posters to model the process of sorting shapes, numbers, and letters into groups and categorizing them.
- As you move the objects around, conduct a think-aloud in which you share with the students what you are thinking and why you are moving the objects in a certain way.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Using a variety of materials around the classroom (including objects such as number flash cards, letter cards, and tactile shapes), invite the students to notice similarities and differences.
- Have the students sit in a circle and put all of the objects in the center of the circle.
- Ask the students how the objects are alike and different.
- Invite the students to move the objects around in the center so that they fit together into specific categories.
- Encourage students to name specific categories and explain why certain objects are in one category but not included in another category.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Distribute the template page with black and white letters, shapes, and numbers.
- Have your students color the letters, shapes, and numbers. Encourage students to use a variety of colors to color each object one color.
- Next, have the students cut out their shapes, letters, and numbers.
- Ask the students to sort their letters, shapes, and numbers into categories. Encourage your students to be creative and sort by alternative categories, such as by color or size.
- Have the students glue their letters, shapes, and numbers in categories on a piece of construction paper or tag board and circle the entire group of objects that fit into that category.
- Enrichment: Extend the independent working assignment by having students draw pictures that can be added to the existing categories. Students can even create a new category and develop new objects that would fit in that category! Challenge students to create “mystery pictures” that show objects that can be grouped in different categories. Pair students and allow them to trade pictures with one another and guess the categories shown in the pictures.
- Support: Modify the template to include limited numbers, letters, and shapes. Have students cut out objects first and model an example of how two shapes, colors, or letters can be grouped. If students struggle with the general concept of sorting, consider assigning the Back to School worksheet to help identify ways to categorize common objects, such as school supplies.
- Use a “Silent Graffiti” activity on an interactive whiteboard, as described below.
- Have one student begin the activity by drawing an object somewhere on the interactive whiteboard.
- Invite another student to come up next and draw something close to that object or farther away, depending on whether it fits into that category.
- Continue the process with other students, adding pictures and objects until several different categories are developed.
Related Books and/or Media
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Circulate around the room and ask students how they sorted their objects, encouraging them to justify their thinking and tell the reasons why they sorted the objects as they did.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Play a modified version of “I Spy!” where students look around the classroom for objects that fit into a particular category.
- Name the category of choice. For example, you could name the category “red” or the category “numbers.”
- Write that category on a piece of chart paper and underline the category.
- Next, have the students “spy” any objects that fit into that category.
- As the students name the objects, write and draw them on the chart paper under the category name.
- Continue with several different categories, repeating the process. By the end of this activity, you will have several category lists using common classroom items. Students will see that categorizing is relevant in the world around them!