Friday, July 25, 2008

Classification Skills

Classification skills, or sorting skills, is another one of those cross-training skills that, when developed, help children in math, reading, and general logical thought process development.

It is one of the most important skills for creating a real thinker.
When children begin to classify objects (matchbox cars), sounds ( loud/soft, man-made/machine), flavors (salty, bitter, sweet) , or concepts ( real/make-believe) into categories according to traits they have in common, they begin to develop the ability to make connections. This is the precursor to logical thinking, and the ability to make predictions about the world around them.

You can help develop this skill.

First, help your child sort simple objects. Matchbox cars can go into a different pile than matchbox trucks, color laundry can go into a different pile than whites, plastic things can be differentiated from metal things, junk mail from regular mail, hard things from soft things, big things from little things. There is no end to simple object classification.

When the child is old enough to trust with nostril-sized things, have fun with M&Ms, raisins and grapes, buttons, nails and screws and bolts.

Then start asking your children some questions: Are these things alike or different? How are they alike? How are they different?

Play Uno with them when they are old enough. Uno matches wither by color or by number and is a wonderful game for teaching classification.

Take your child grocery shopping. Name the vegetables in the vegetable isle, then name the dairy foods in the dairy aisle. ON the ride home, ask your child to tell you names of different things you saw, and where they belong.

"We saw milk."
"Milk! Yes we did. Where was the milk?"
"In the berry aisle"
"No, in the dairy aisle. What else was in the dairy aisle?"

When you go to the fabric store (If you don't go, I would suggest a trip just for fun), take time to go through different fabrics, describing their texture, soft, smooth, rough, fluffy, itchy, see through, dark , light, solid, pattern. But a few remnants of fabric to take home and cut into squares for keeping in a "texture box."

Because the aim of this blog is to demonstrate ways to do "sneaky teaching" I suggest keeping things fun at all times in the early years. Direct lessons help, but informal opportunities for sorting and classification abound during the course of a typical day.

1 comment:

BBat50 said...

Mrs Buckman, Have you seen this incredible collection of printable math worksheets for learning about money?