I am a person with a deep desire to be organized. Unfortunately, I was not born with the "naturally organized" gene. Whether it is my classroom, my home, my car, or my Pinterest folders, it takes me a long time to determine the necessary categories for organization. However, once I allow myself the time to think about logical categories and labels for sorting, I can quickly convert an area of chaos into an area of order and future productivity. Of course, new areas of chaos always pop up! Sigh...
It wasn't until I was in my sixth year of teaching that I learned that sorting and categorizing was not just for colorful bears and Unifix cubes in PreK and Kindergarten. At a staff development session at the beginning of the school year, our literacy coordinator showed us how sorting could be a form of word study and teaching spelling in all grades. Up until that point, I had hated teaching spelling. The traditional way of memorizing, testing, and forgetting a list of words just did not seem like best practice. Words Their Way truly changed my teaching life!
As the book says:
Categorizing is the fundamental way that humans make sense of the world. It allows us to find order and similarities among various objects, events, ideas, and words that we encounter. When students sort words they are engaged in the active process of searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Word sorts can help students organize what they know about words and to form generalizations that they can then apply to new words they encounter in their reading.
There is so much more I could say about sorting and, since this is MY blog and all, I WILL!!! :) But, I am not going to say it all at once. For today, I wanted to share a picture and some videos from some PK/K classrooms I have visited that are laying an early foundation for word sorting.
This picture comes from a Kindergarten classroom using the Estrellita reading program. We found clip art representing all of the sonidos iniciales and studied them in the chunks outlined in the program. As we studied them, the students were able to practice sorting them. By comparing and contrasting groups of beginning sounds, the students were able to learn the letters and sounds so much faster than if they had just studied a letter a week. This type of sorting did not just require rote memorization but rather "searching, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing". Who doesn't want their students practicing those skills?
Stay tuned for more Clasificando palabras posts in the near future! I would love to hear about your own experiences with word sorts in your classroom!