A vocabulary sort provides students with a variety of terms and concepts related to a unit or for a course. You can use them at the beginning of a unit or at the end of a unit. Sometimes I do both as a way to show students what information they’ve learned.
Here are some strategies.
Ask Students (usually in small groups) to
- Separate terms they know and the terms they don’t. Look up/research the ones with which they aren’t familiar. (then move to the following strategies)
- Identify & justify at least 3 categories (student or teacher choice) and sort the words in the appropriate categories. Discuss the similarities and differences of the categories selected by each group
- As the teacher, include ‘obvious’ headlines/category subjects, and students sort associated words/terms
- Have the students select their “favourite” words and ask them to do a short literacy activity using each of the words in the correct context.
While students work, emphasize there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Their properly reasoned verbal justification can make any word fit any
I have also made the terms on large sheets of paper. The students then sort the giant words on the floor in a larger group. I then post the words in their selected categories on the wall for a Word Wall.
Here is my Vocabulary sort for The Great War.
Here’s a PDF: CausesofWW1wordsort