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What is a Shape Sorting Toy?
A shape sorting toy includes shapes like circle, parallelogram, quatrefoil, square, diamond, oval, and pentagon. A child usually places the shapes into correct holes that match their shapes. I love the shape sorting toy Melissa and Doug! It is colorful and it also rolls which is fun for the kids. My daughter loves to match the shapes and colors! It contains primary and secondary colors.
While I was at home distance learning with my student, I used these 5 differentiations with my shape sorting toy. This is normally a toy designed for younger kids, but these activities kept my 5 year old engaged while she learned some great math vocabulary. She continued to build her fine motor skills and use some deeper critical thinking skills as well.
Vocabulary You Can Use
We have highlighted these vocabulary words throughout the post in the color green so you can see how to use them in context.
Five Different Ways I Used the Shape Sorting Toy
1) Roll and Match:
2) Trace the shapes:
3) Match each prism:
4) Sort your shapes by:
- Number of sides
- Number of angles
- Organic and geometric shapes
5) Pick a prism
Talk about what a prism is and how each of the blocks represents a type of prism. Have students create each prism with:
- Their bodies
- Pipe cleaners
- Clay or playdough
- Wikki stix
- Ask your children what they think they could use.
Don’t forget about vocabulary
What is concept based instruction?
You may be asking, “What is concept based instruction?” It is when a large percentage of your classroom curriculum is connected by a certain theme or deeper concept. Your vocabulary, reading, and writing are centered around your theme, and when your theme is one of your science or social studies concepts, you get magic! I dabbled in this a bit in my earlier teaching. We had cute themes like teddy bears and the circus, but it was when my themes and vocabulary words came from our content area units that I saw a real difference.
- Have fun
- Be more actively involved
- Develop learning skills more quickly, as each one is connected to and reinforced by the other
- Be more confident and better motivated
- Present fewer discipline problems.
Think about it, you introduce your theme and your students know exactly what they will be learning for that time frame. Imagine asking your students “what are we learning class?” and every single one responds, “citizenship!” or whatever you happen to be learning.
CLICK HERE to read our post all about content-based instruction and how you can seamlessly connect literacy to everything you teach.