Sorting Bins



Tip: Sorting Bins

How do I do it?
 Grab 3-6 plastic bins or buckets (you can even use shoeboxes). Label each bin with a category related to what you are studying  (e.g. nouns, verbs, prepositions; invertebrates, vertebrates; high fat, low fat, no fat; red, yellow, orange; democracy, oligarchy, dictatorship; items in a store, bank, post office etc.) Create cards with examples for the categories (e.g. house, car, run, of etc. for the categories nouns, verbs, prepositions or United States, Iran, China etc. for the categories democracy, oligarchy, dictatorship.) Pass out the example cards to students who must place them in the correct bin.
There are many ways to have students sort: a) line up with a card, show it to class and place in correct bin; b) place bins in central location and work in teams with 10 cards each to see who finishes first; or, c) 2 lines of students compete to categorize as many cards as possible relay-style etc.  Once the sorting is complete the bins should be reviewed whole class or in one bin per group to determine correct sorting.  This is a great time for discussion, clarification, and reteaching, as necessary. 

Variations & Extensions
Have students work in pairs.  Create mini bins at each table for a small group sort.  Use picture cards, real objects, maps etc. instead of word cards.  Direct students to make a statement as to why they are placing a card in a bin and/or why it should not go in the other bins.  The possibilities are endless!

Common Core ELA Language Standard 5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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