Next, we advance to sorting items by color. They sort like items in different colors like counting bears or pom-poms. They then move on to sorting a variety of objects by color like various toys or writing utensils.
After they've mastered that skill, I like them to work on sorting by different attributes. One of the attributes, I find very important is sorting by shape.
Rather than having students sort items into piles, I much prefer this hands-on approach to shape sorting. I purchased little paper mache boxes of different shapes at Hobby Lobby. I have a circle, oval, square, rectangle, and heart.
These boxes are great because they also add fine motor, self-help and problem solving skills as the students have to work to take off and put on the lids.
I then cut out foam shapes all of the same color to be sorted. We start with only sorting two different shapes then move toward sorting a variety of shapes.
After mastering that skill, I often move on to a color shape sorter I purchased from Lakeshore a few years back.
Another skill, I add into this task during direct instruction is the concept of taking one. I put all the shapes in a fabric bag and request that they pull one out from the "Take 1" bag. This is an important social skill because some students will take a handful when presented with a bag or bowl full of items. I often remind my students it is good manners to just take one.