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Stone Hill Elementary School Library: Three of These Things

Essential Question

What does it mean to sort objects into categories?

Lesson 1 - Don't Be a Monster!

  • Readaloud: Read My Teacher is a Monster! by Peter Brown and see if the students notice how the teacher changes as she and Bobby spend time together.
  • Discussion: Explain that teachers don't WANT to be monsters, but sometimes when our students show monster behavior, we turn into monsters too. Ask the kids to share some rules that they need to follow in the classroom and in the library. Make a T-chart of Bulldog Behavior and Monster Behavior and explain the concept of categories.

  • Activity: After kids have checked out a book from the tables, they may draw themselves as a monster (template below). A few minutes before the end of class, call them back to attention and tell them we're going to put the monster drawings into categories. See if anyone can come up with an example (color, firebreathing ability, horns), and have the kids whose monsters match that category stand up.

Lesson 3 - Thanks, Sesame Street

  • Review: Ask the students who can explain what it means to sort items into categories. 

  • 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.


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 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

3 = I am able to figure out which one doesn't belong

4 = Answer is obvious (or super sneaky and clever), drawings are unique/original 

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

Lesson 2 - Which One is Different?

  • 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. Let them come up to the Elmo.

Lesson 4 - Book Sort

  • Activity 1: Pull a variety of categories of books - hardcover / paperback; picture / chapter; characters on cover / not; fiction / nonfiction, etc. Give each student a book and then ask them to find at least one other student whose book falls into the same category. More than two students may be in a category. Once everyone is sorted, ask if anyone would like to share their category. Then have them regroup using a different category.

    Explain that all of the choices are correct, but that the library uses only a couple of different ways to sort books. The first major separation is fiction / nonfiction. The way to tell which category a book falls into is the call number. 
  • Activity 2: Show sample call numbers (see attached) and ask the students if they are fiction or nonfiction. Then have the kids do the individual assignment posted below. 
  • Follow-up: During checkout next week, have students look at their book's call number and tell you if it is fiction or nonfiction. 


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 - Recognizes the systematic way the library organizes fiction and picture books; With help, sorts and categorizes “like” and “different” objects; Verbally and physically demonstrates simple organizational skills such as sorting and categorizing objects and information; Sorts books by fiction vs. nonfiction; 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