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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sorting Collections in Preschool

Today I am continuing my discussion of four types of math activities that I want to increase in my classroom.  They are:
  1. Using Math Mats
  2. Grid, Line and Path Games
  3. Sorting and Classifying
  4. Graphing

The book that I mentioned the day before yesterday as a great resource for Grid, Line and Path games is also a wonderful resource for Sorting and Classifying.

I love that this book calls these types of activities working with "collections".  This word alone makes me want to go and find some yard sales right now to increase the types of things that I have available to sort in my room.

Here is the book:
More Than Counting: Whole-Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

I've always been a big fan of sorting, just for the myriad of learning experiences it provides students.  With sorting  the Little People can work with concepts of size, shape, color, textures, and all kind of other classifications - just with one box of fun things.

After reading this book, I have decided that good sorting activities come from three important elements:

1) Interesting Collections

Here are some Collection ideas:

2) Interesting Collection Containers

Here are some container examples:

3) A grown up to sit by and comment on/discuss how they are working with their collections:

Tell me how you decided to group those hats together.
Which group will the silver key go into?  What about that small black key?
Tell me about this group.  Will you put more into this group?  
Which group has more - this one or that one?

I think this third element is very important.  While I think that young children will naturally learn math concepts through independently exploring collections, I think it is this adult-child interaction that will take this learning much further.

Hopefully as I increase the collections that I offer the Little People and make them readily available to them I will see some of this learning first hand.

As always, I'll let you know.

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