Friday, September 7, 2012

Clasificando palabras: Laying the foundation in PK/K

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?

This amazing Kindergarten teacher's class does a whole class picture sort according to the sonidos iniciales and then the students go back to their seats to do the same sort individually.

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!


  1. I have used a lot of the words their way sorts with my bilingual kindergarteners, as well as created my own SMARTboard activities with the syllables, sonidos iniciales, and other concept sorts. I am currently having some trouble with my smartnotebook, but feel free to email me at and I can try to send them!

    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa! I can't wait to see these resources!

  2. Hello! I wanted to share some information with your followers. A colleague of mine has a copy of Spanish word sorts purchased from Really Good Stuff and it's fantastic! If you are not familiar with it I suggest you go on their website and look at their sample pages. The book alone is less than $30. The book starts off with picture sorts and progresses to more difficult word sorts. I had my kindergarten bilingual students do a vowel (A and E) initial sound picture sort as an assessment because we had just finished up those two vowels. I have to say I really enjoyed watching the kids comparing those initial sounds out loud. It's a great feeling to watch your 5 and 6 years olds applying what you taught them. More importantly, I was able to see if my students had meet the objectives.

  3. I have the Really Good Stuff book and cards too and I am planning on implimenting them this year. I use the Estrellita program and would LOVE the smart board activities.


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