Lesson: Word Sort Activities – Sorting according to Spelling

Explicit Support & Scaffolding for English Learners:

Explicit Support & Scaffolding for English Learners:
This simple strategy of allowing students to sort words into different categories is at the heart of word study. By engaging in comparing, contrasting, and categorizing words, students have to understand the vocabulary and draw connections between different words for different purposes. Students also have to identify patterns within the meaning and structure of words.

Research shows that multiple exposures to academic language increase retention and comprehension. Word Sort activities exposes students to language, invites them to interact with and think critically about terms and concepts, and develops their ability to make deep, meaningful connections. (Allen, J. (1999). Words, words, words: Teaching vocabulary in grades 4-12. US: Stenhouse Publishing.)

Objectives:

Students engage in Word Sort activities to compare, contrast, and classify words. Students can sort words into categories based on:

Spelling and spelling patterns

Common Core Standards

Materials:

  1. The teacher must select the vocabulary words from one of the Word Bank  Lists of Words. (Link)
  2. Word Sort Cards:  These can be most easily downloaded by the teacher from the Word Sort Sheets.  [See Word Sort Card example.]
  3. Cognate chart(s) of the vocabulary words in English and the cognates listed in other dominant languages used in the classroom community.
  4. Student reference materials such as student dictionaries, thesauruses, and other curricular resource materials that list words, their definitions, morphology, syllabication, synonyms, and antonyms.

Brief Description:

Students engage in Word Sort activities to compare, contrast, and classify words. Students can sort words into categories based on:

  • Spelling patterns

Word Sort Quiz: Spelling Patterns

Sort the words according to their patterns.

ure cher

 

sher
Describe the patterns and how you plan on learning these spellings. Describe what makes sense to you. 

Instructions

Sorting Words according to Spelling

  1. The teacher must first select a list of 10-20 relevant words from the Word Bank Lists, print out this list as a Word Sort Sheet, and make multiple copies for students to study. (Link)
  2. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the student teams (either pairs or small groups) to assign the words to the appropriate categories. Students must be prepared to defend their sorting of the words. They must know the common features of each category and how each word fits into the category.
  3. Conduct a class discussion with each group presenting their word list for one of the categories. Require the students to defend their sorting of vocabulary words by asking about the common features of the categories and how each specific word meets these criteria.
  4. Finally, make sure that each student copies the category titles and the Word Sort words onto a graphic organizer.

Teaching Tips

  • Make sure to have student-friendly dictionaries available.
  • If you have access to computers, here is a kid-friendly online dictionary.
  • Students can spend a huge amount of time looking words up in the dictionary. Spelling in English can be very difficult and all teachers have seen students spend a long period of time trying to find a word in the dictionary in the wrong section.
  • Word Sorts are usually most effectively done by putting students in groups. Students can either work with a partner or in small groups of 3 or 4. The best learning takes place when students are engaged in the Word Sort discussions. In this activity, students really need to bounce ideas off of each other.

WORD SORT Explanations

  1. First, the teacher must decide between the two types of Word Sorts: closed or open.
    • Closed Word Sort – The teacher provides the categories (and the specific features of each) to the students. The students then match the words with the features of each category to create the word collections.
    • Open Word Sort – The teacher provides only the list of words. Students work together to decide upon the common features and describe the categories.
  2. In the Closed Word Sort, the teacher would provide the list of words and the spelling pattern. Students are responsible for sorting the words into the different categories.

Teacher: Take a look at these words. Some of them have the -ure pattern, others have the –cher spelling pattern and still others have the -sher pattern. Identify which words have the different patterns and fill out the graphic organizer.

3. For an Open Word Sort, the teacher provides only the list of words. Students work together to decide upon the common features and describe the categories. For example, the teacher presents this list of words to students:

capture, creature, catcher,, rancher culture, fixture, agriculture, bleacher, architecture, richer, vulture, rupture, voucher, teacher

4. Students identify the two spelling patterns and sort the words into the appropriate categories. Their graphic organizer might look like this:

-ure words

-cher words

Rule: These words end in –ure. They also have a “t” before the –ure. Rule: These words end in –cher.
CaptureCreature Catcherteacher

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