EL Support Lesson

One of These Things

This hands-on geometry lesson is a great introduction to 2D shapes for your ELs. This can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the String Shapes lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the String Shapes! lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the String Shapes! lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and compare 2D shapes.


Students will be able to compare and contrast 2D shapes using visual aids and sentence stems.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class together and play the Sesame Street clip "One of These Things Is Not Like the Other" on the projector.
(5 minutes)
  • Show the class three objects (e.g., 2 balls and 1 block).
  • Model thinking aloud to demonstrate the idea that two of these things belong and one of them doesn't.
  • Ask students to help you think about why the two balls go together and the block doesn't.
  • Explain that today students will get to sort shapes and decide which ones go together and which ones don't belong to each group (review the definitions in students' home language [L1] as needed).
(10 minutes)
  • Review shapes by displaying the visual vocabulary cards one at a time, reviewing each shape (circle, square, rectangle, triangle).
  • Explain the characteristics of the shape, using a pattern block as a tactile and additional visual aid. Pass around the pattern block for students to explore.
  • Repeat this process for the remaining shapes.
  • Model identifying the similarities and differences between shapes by showing the class how regardless of size or color, all circles are still circles, etc.
  • Gather three shapes (two of the same in different colors or sizes and one different) and model finding the shape that is different, "I see three circles and one square. The square is different."
  • Repeat this process using a new set of shapes and having students identify the shape names and which ones don't belong.
  • Provide students with the following sentence frame to use as they play: "I see two and one . The ____ is different."
(10 minutes)
  • Pair students up with a partner and provide them with three sets of shapes (each containing two of the same shape in varying colors/sizes and one different shape).
  • Explain that students will get to play "One of These Things Doesn't Belong" with their partner.
  • As students work in pairs, circulate around the room to check in on students and support them in explaining how they know which shape is different and which ones are the same.


  • Put students into a smaller teacher-led group for individualized instruction.
  • Provide a smaller number of shapes for students to use when determining which shape doesn't belong.
  • Support students in explaining their thinking using the sentence frames, "The ____ doesn't belong to the group because ____. The ____ and ____ belong together because ____ ."


  • Have students use a larger group of shapes to determine other groups (sides, angles, size, etc.) of which shape doesn't belong and why.
  • Have students complete the Same and Different worksheet for further practice.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room and take note of any misunderstandings and/or areas of confusion for follow-up or clarification.
  • Informally assess students ability to identify and compare shapes by asking them guiding questions, such as "What is this shape? How do you know? Which one doesn't belong? Why?" as they work in pairs.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and invite several pairs to share how they sorted their shapes.
  • Provide students with sentence frames and/or rephrase their responses to include how the shapes were similar or different and which shapes belong together and which do not.

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