Thursday, July 22, 2021

Language Arts Sorting Activities + FREEBIES

TpT Back-to-School Sale 


 Welcome back, Teacher Pirates!  So glad you stopped by. Today I will share with you Sorting Activities for Language Arts!

As we all know, sorting is our way to categorize. For example, before throwing clothes into the washing machine, we sort the laundry into groups that can be washed together. We might categorize laundry by color, fabric material, or required temperature. 

Pull open the flatware drawer in the kitchen, and you see utensils placed together by their shape, size, and/or purpose.

Think about spoons for a moment.  There are soup spoons, dessert spoons, serving spoons, measuring spoons, cooking spoons, and more! 

Also, we don't just classify objects. What about events? There are sporting events - World Series, Super Bowl, World Cup, Wimbledon, etc.  Then there are holiday events - July 4th, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Thanksgiving, and so on.  Don't forget family events - birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and more. Basically categorizing helps us organize and understand things, events, and ideas.


Now, apply categorizing to the content we teach in our classrooms. For instance, a science unit about animals will probably require students to classify animals: Vertebrates and Invertebrates; Warm-blooded and Cold-blooded; Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish. 

If your students are learning about U.S. Government, they will need to know about the branches of government- Executive, Legislative, Judiciary as well as the duties of each branch. During math we teach classification of geometric shapes, monetary units, and types of measurement (linear, capacity/volume, time). Throughout the academic year, our students are classifying and sorting in order to gain knowledge and to understand their world.


I discovered sorting activities when my principal introduced our staff to Words Their Way by Donald Bear, Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, and Francine Johnston. WTW is a word study program for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction, and Word Sort activities are the "heart" of the program. While using Word Sorts in my classroom, I discovered that not only were my students enjoying these hands-on and game-like activities, they were learning, too! 


After using WTW Sorts, I decided to create other types of sorting activities. One of my first was "Kinds of Sentences Sorting Activity" (statement/declarative, question/interrogative, command/imperative, exclamation/exclamatory).  At the time, baseball season was heading to the World Series, and my students and I were reading Lou Gehrig, The Luckiest Man by David Adler so I used a baseball theme. 

Included in this resource are four sets of sentences about baseball history facts to sort as well as a worksheet for students to write their own sentences based on their favorite sport. 

After writing their sentences,
students exchange them with a classmate and sort each other's set of sentences. When completed, students review each other's sort. If there are disagreements, they must explain to each other and their teacher how they made their choices. Requiring students to explain their sorting decisions provides teachers with insights into their students' understanding or misunderstanding of the concept.

I have also published a FREE "Kinds of Sentences" sorting activity if you want to try it out.


Another sentence related sort activity I created requires students to categorize fragments, run-ons, and sentences.  Since my students were studying weather during science, I gave this resource a weather theme.  (I am a believer in connecting content areas!)

Included are 30 task cards to sort. I recommend dividing the cards into three sets of ten or two sets of fifteen.  After completing the sort, have students select two fragments and two run-ons to rewrite as sentences.  A worksheet for the revision is provided. 

This Sort Activity can be purchased separately or as part of a bundle that includes a slideshow, three more engaging practice activities, and a two-part assessment.  

Here is the bundle link:


Homophones are great for sorting.  So far, I have designed three homophone sorts: 
Each sort is sold separately, and each is available as a PDF and a Digital product.  These sort activities are also included in bundles. However, only the PDF resource is  part of  each homophone set bundle. 

Included in each sort activity are sentence cards in which the homophone has been left out. Students must choose the missing homophone and explain to their teacher the reason for their choice.  Also each sort has its own theme/topic: Statue of Liberty, carnivorous plants, and cats.


Let's shift to figurative language which I so enjoy teaching. After creating a slideshow to introduce six types of figurative language and a board game for practice, I decided to provide my buyers a FREE sort. The focus is on similes and metaphors which are usually the first types of figurative language that are taught in the classroom.

In this sort there are twenty simile/metaphor cards. I recommend dividing the cards into two sets of ten. After completing each sort set, there is a critical activity that requires students to name the two compared items and to explain their similarity. A photo of the sort can be seen in the title box at the top of the blog page. 

If you are interested in this resource as well as the slideshow and game, below is a link to a past blog post when I first introduced these three resources.


Also, take a look at this more recent blog about how to vary the beginning of sentences. You will find additional FREE Sort resources.

I appreciate your visit with me, and I hope you found helpful teaching ideas and resources!  On the horizon are school start-ups so please sail to my teaching store for more resourceful teaching jewels and gems!




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