I want to introduce you to sorting cards. This teaching method is going to change the way you teach. You can thank me later.

Let me start by going over the benefits and why students love them…(with some suggestions thrown in.)

1. Easily stored (in sandwich bags).
2. Great warm-up! Just toss a bag onto each table.
3. You can easily make your own, or better yet, have students make them. Use index cards, they’re sturdier. If you use paper, I recommend laminating.
4. Students love them because they can physically stand at their desk or table, there is no worksheet, and no writing. Isn’t that the opposite of what school usually is?
5. Students are pretty much forced to participate.
6. Great formative assessment. Who has NO idea what to do? Who needs help? Did they all get it immediately?
7. They’re extremely versatile. You can use them simply for vocabulary. You can use them to relate ideas to images. You can use them to put a timeline in order.
8. Easy to walk around and assess progress (okay, so this is an addition to #6). But seriously, YOU’RE not doing worksheets, either!
9. These are great for students who struggle with writing.
10. Students can talk it out.
11. Students absolutely LOVE them. I allow students to take pictures of the correct arrangement. I also allow students to sign them out to bring home to study. This was actually my STUDENTS’ idea! I made it a privilege. I have students write their name on a sticky note with the name of the set they’re taking home and I put it on the board. They take it down when they return them.
12. Administrators LOVE these babies!
13. Students LEARN. And they enjoy it.
14. Student centered.
15. You can re-use the same set every day for a week! You don’t need different sorting cards for every day! Then take a break, and bring them back out a week or two later at the end of the unit.

How do you use them?
1. Use as a warm-up at the beginning of class.
2. Use for early finishers.
3. If you have a TON for one subject, break them into sections and make stations.
4. Class finisher.
5. Review station.

Here are some pictures of some of the sets I offer in my store.

Above are my earthquake sorting cards. I have a bagillion. (I like to pretend that’s an actually number.) As I’m teaching earthquakes, I add to the sorting cards the kids do for warm up. After I do my faults lab with play-doh (lab pages shown in left photo above- link HERE for lab), I start using the types of faults sorting cards. As we progress in the unit, I add the topics accordingly. For students who struggle, I keep the sets separated. For students who excel, I mix them ALL up. As students begin to master them, I have one student sort them by themselves and another student check and either agree or disagree with them. Pretty cool stuff. Best part– students LOOOOVE them. I cannot stress that enough.

Here are some more pictures…

Again, you don’t have to buy them! You can make them yourself or have students make them! Make it a class project and take a whole class period to make them. Whatever works for YOU!

Here are some links if you want to check out some sets I offer in my store…

Earthquake Sorting Cards

Plate Tectonics Sorting Cards

Scientific Method Sorting Cards

Minerals Sorting Cards

Chemical vs. Physical Changes Sorting Cards

Characteristics of Life Sorting Cards

Atomic Theory Sorting Cards

Enjoy teaching with sorting cards!

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