This strategy helps students develop critical thinking skills as they sort, organize and classify things in different ways.
Why use it?
- To support students with identifying similarities and differences between and among data, information and/or objects.
- To provide students with tools to record the ways in which they sort, classify and/or organize data, information and/ or objects.
- To accommodate students who are visual as well as tactile learners.
Tips for success
- Initially, this strategy works well with concrete objects. As students become more adept, ideas and information can be written on sticky notes for sorting/classifying/organizing.
- Choose data, information and/or objects that can be sorted/classified and/or organized in a variety of ways.
- Model each new Sorting Mat organizer with students.
- Students should be allowed to determine which of the different Sorting Mat organizers is best for each sorting experience.
How do I use it?
- Introduce this strategy by asking students how they might record a simple sort that they have done (e.g., sorting a bin of fasteners) and then modelling a strategy such as a T-Chart.
- Ask students to determine where to place the data, information and/or objects on an organizer (e.g., “Based on how you sorted the fasteners, which ones do you think might go in the middle space of the Venn diagram?”).
- Ask students to identify the similarities and differences of the resulting groupings.
- Provide students with multiple and varied opportunities to sort, classify and/or organize data, information and/or objects in their inquiries.
- Ask students to explain their sorting rules (e.g., ask if an item of your choosing could be part of their sort, and if not, why not).
- Students should be encouraged to develop their own ways to organize data, information and/or objects.