Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Task Box Countdown: Task Box # 4 - Shape Sorting

When my students are first introduced to the skill of sorting, I always have them sort different types of items like toy cars vs. bouncy balls or crayons vs. glue sticks.  

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 the students have learned that skill, I add the element of color.  Although they are still sorting by shape, I want the children to ignore the unneeded information of the various colors and continue sorting by shape.  This can be tricky for some because the children have already practiced color sorting extensively. It becomes natural for the students to focus on the color of the shape even though it's an irrelevant characteristic. 

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.

I also added the element of requesting for those students that need practice with labeling shapes and using their voice.  I will do that using the below aided language board.  I will hold the shape boxes back after they draw a shape out of the back them must request the correct box to but it in. 

1 comment:

  1. It is so hard to find shape manipulatives that are not color coded. Do you know of any toy manufactures or teaching supply companies that sell shape manipulatives that are all the same color or have no color?