Freebies, Google Slides, Sorting Cards

Collaborative Group Sorting Cards

**UPDATED** Now includes sorting into groups of 3 for a Thinking Classroom

Have you ever handed out playing cards at the door to sort your students into groups and then watch as students switch cards to make sure they are in the same group? No? Well maybe it’s just me but it happened often.

To fix this problem, a long time ago (like 10 or 11 years) I created sorting cards using a large index card and glued stickers, playing cards, words, equations, graphs, etc., randomly in groups of 4. I had a deck of 34 so I needed 9 sets of 4 for everything I used. I had 4 sets of 9 equations, 4 sets of 9 graphs, 4 sets of 9 coordinating stickers, and so on.

Once they were laminated, I would stand at the door and had each student an index card. They had NO IDEA what I would choose so there was no point in switching cards with someone. I usually randomly pick a person in the class to pick the sorting theme and then they group up by that theme. If I know I need to put certain students together or keep certain student apart, I will pick the theme beforehand and make sure to give those certain students the card I want them to have.

Yes, I know there are ways to sort digitally, but this is fun, and I can stand at the door and do hall duty while preparing to sort into groups.

Now, here is the sad news. My building had a severe black mold issue at the beginning of the year. Everything I had accumulated in my 20 years of teaching was thrown away. This included my prized sorting cards. Cards that had a lot of time and some money (for stickers and such) invested. We were remote and hybrid for much of the year so I didn’t recreate them.

A few days ago a colleague sent me a tweet from a person asking about these cards. I really thought I had shared this idea via blog post but couldn’t find it anywhere. I also have ZERO pictures of these cards. SAD SAD SAD!!! So I reached out and told the person I would make a digital version that could be personalized, printed, and laminated.

So here you go. OPEN SLIDEDECK TEMPLATE

Thinking Classroom groups of 3 cards OPEN SLIDEDECK TEMPLATE

Print on a color printer (on lightweight cardstock if you can), fold in half and secure with stick glue, laminate, and sort your students. You can change out any of the images, especially the Bitmoji. Mine have a lot of math in them because I’m a math teacher. You may want to change that too. Be caution when adding food if you teach middle and high school. Google the meaning of the food before you use it. Eggplant parm might be a favorite but it will also get you some chuckles at the high school level. And beware when you google pineapple. Geesh!

image of one sorting card

If you use these cards, I would love to hear how it goes!

7 thoughts on “Collaborative Group Sorting Cards”

  1. Hi Mandi! 🙂 This is a wonderful idea! Thank you! Could you help by explaining how you make these cards so that if each student grabs a card, but there are still cards leftover, which items on the cards do you pick so that each student is grouped? I’m really excited to use groups of 3 for my thinking classroom. THANK YOU!

    1. I hand out one card to each student. I don’t usually worry about groups until after the grouping object is selected. I usually have a student (different each day) pick an object (graph, fast food, Bitmoji, etc…) If I end up with groups smaller than I want, I can shift the small groups or have them shift voluntarily. You can always pick what you want in advance and just hand out the correct amount of cards with that object. Please let me know if this isn’t clear. It’s sometimes hard to explain without showing it.

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