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Garden City School Library: Three of These Things

Essential Question

What does it mean to sort objects into categories?

Lesson 1: DIfferent? Same!

  • Discussion: Ask if anyone can define "category." Explain that all the things in a category have at least one characteristic in common. Ask students to stand up if they are wearing sneakers / long sleeves / a shirt with words on it / etc.
  • Readloud: Read Different? Same! by Heather Tekavec / illustrated by Pippa Curnick, asking the students to figure out how all of the animals on each spread go together. (Put Post-Its over the answer in the bottom left corner.)

    Then read Which One Doesn't Belong? by Christopher Danielson. This one doesn't have specific answers ... any one of the four objects on each page could be the odd one out depending on what characteristic you choose to sort by. Don't go to the next page until at least two students share different answers. (Confession time: as the book goes on, the challenge gets harder, until even I can't come up with good answers.)

  • Activity: Hand out sorting flashcards (they always have them in the $1 bins at Target at the beginning of the school year ... or just use a regular deck of cards). Tell the students to find at least one other person whose card matches theirs in some way. Then make them do it again, but using different criteria.

Lesson 2 - Thanks, Sesame Street

  • Videos: Watch the following Sesame Street "Three of These Things" videos (you can stop them after the first verse) and ask the kids to share what doesn't belong.
  • Shoes 
  • Kids playing sports 
  • Kermit and Susan 

Tell the students that they will create their own "Three of These Things" challenges today. Model a couple of examples and let them know that they must not copy your ideas.

  • Activity/Assessment: Students will draw four objects - three the same and one different - on the template below. Once I've figured out which one doesn't belong, they can go look for a book.

1 = All four drawings are completely different, completely the same, or done as two pairs

2 = I cannot figure out which one doesn't belong, but student explains sufficiently OR student copied my idea

3 = I am able to figure out which one doesn't belong, but it is simple (e.g., three squares and one circle or three red flowers and one orange)

4 = Answer is super sneaky and clever, drawings are unique/original, and/or the student drew completely different items that go together as a category

If there is time at the end, share student creations with the class.

Standards Addressed

AASLI.B.3 - Generating products that illustrate learning; III.A.2 - Developing new understandings through engagement in a learning group; III.D.1 - Actively contributing to group discussions; IV.B.4 - Organizing information by priority, topic, or other systematic scheme; V.A.1 - Reading widely and deeply in multiple formats and write and create for a variety of purposes. 

RI Core: RL.1.7 - Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events; SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media; 1.MD.C.4 Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Select and analyze relevant information; Use a method of communication (e.g., written, oral, visual, graphic, audio, and/or interactive) to present ideas; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Identify relevant information/data from resources and analyze patterns and trends to identify relationships.

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Priority Skills: 1.1 - With help, sorts and categorizes “like” and “different” objects; Verbally and physically demonstrates simple organizational skills such as sorting and categorizing objects and information; Uses writing process, emergent writing, and drawing to develop expression of new understandings; 3.2 - Participates in collaborative conversations with peers and adults to share ideas and information