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First Grade Content Connection Sample: Sorting

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Sorting is a foundational concept that leads to critical thinking. This concept requires first graders to categorize, arrange, and classify items based on kind, class, quantity, quality, or other characteristics. First graders extend the concept of similarities and differences found in kindergarten by learning the variety of properties, characteristics, and complexities involved in sorting. Work with sorting also allows first graders to begin the use of multiple perspectives as they analyze complexities.

Sorting can connect 9 of 10 content areas as detailed below.

Comprehensive Health and Physical Education

In comprehensive health and physical education, sorting by character, quality, quantity, and intensity allows for the discernment between a variety of health-related behaviors and information. Distinguishing between fast and slow movements, moderate and vigorous physical activities, nutritious and innutritious foods and safe and unsafe adults are examples of the sorting students master as a foundation for the critical thinking skills needed to maintain wellness.

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Comprehensive Health

Physical Education


In dance, sorting involves performing an age appropriate arrangement of a movement phrase. Basic actions can be created independently and with guidance through a simple set of sequential steps that are arranged in a predictable format.

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Drama and Theatre Arts

In drama and theatre arts, sorting is developed through the process of categorizing and comparing. Using media such as television, books, and movies, learners develop a way to sort attributes of expression and characters which can be applied to their understanding of theatre.

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In mathematics, sorting is a process of creating categories based on attributes of items. First graders sort objects into categories based on defining attributes. For example, identifying three sides as a distinguishing attribute of triangles to sort shapes or creating categories for types of weather conditions (e.g., cloudy, sunny) in order to display weather categories graphically.

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In music, sorting is based on specific criteria to identify aspects such as the introduction, phrases, staff and tone colors. For example, students listen to repeated sections and use sorting criteria to identify the order in which they heard each passage. Determining the tone color of a wind instrument versus a string instrument builds the auditory skills needed to sort and categorize instruments or other auditory inputs such as phonemes.

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Reading, Writing, and Communicating

In reading, writing and communicating, sorting consists of categorizing, classifying and recognizing similarities and differences within text. First graders categorize key words by attributes, create words using onset and rime, and plan writing using pictures or graphic organizers. In addition, students classify various syllable types and long/short vowel sounds. Sorting helps identify connections between text and story elements.

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In science, sorting objects based on properties or characteristics is a fundamental skill. Sorting provides the basis for seeing patterns in order to understand and make meaning of the natural world. Sorting is the foundational skill for classifying objects based on multiple characteristics.

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Social Studies

In social studies, sorting requires the categorization and arrangement of events, ideas, and other attributes into different categories to allow for deeper contextual understanding. History sorts ideas and events based on when and where events happened to build to the concept of cause and effect. Sorting in geography is identifying patterns in human and environmental attributes. Understanding how to sort is critical for one to be able to understand multiple perspectives of ideas, events, and issues.

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Visual Arts

In visual arts, sorting shows an ability to identify a simple arrangement or organizational structure of expressive features and characteristics of artworks. Pieces of art can be created independently or with guidance through a simple arrangement of artistic elements such as foreground and background. Recognizing similar and different structures builds foundational visual literacy skills.

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Summary Document: All standards pages for Sorting