Using Sorting Mats to Engage Students (and FREEBIE)



We try to make learning as fun as possible for kids, but the hard truth sometimes they just need multiple opportunities for practice to master skills.  It can be a challenge to present the same skill in different formats, so the kids don't get bored AND see the skill over and over.

I wanted to share how to make the foldable sorting mats, since you can use them a million different ways in your own classroom! They are perfect for practicing skills that can be...um boring after a bit! I made a short video clip on how to make each mat.  You can show these to your students so they can see all the folds larger than life! LOL! I also included a video (at the very bottom) for all you visual learners (like me!) on how to make each mat in one LOOONNNG video of all the clips combined.  The videos are ...well, special.  I am certainly NO spokesperson! LOL!  


This is one of the most basic sorting mats.  Super simple and anyone can do it!

How to Make It:




How to Use It:


Here is a short video clip you can show student son how to create it.





Here is another one I used all the time in my classroom.


You can cut tabs in each of the window sides and use it for A MILLION different things!

How to Make It:




How to Use It:


I used this folding mat most often for vocabulary.  Students would cut tabs on each side and write the vocabulary word on the outside and the a definition and example on the inside.  I have also used it as a "word collector." Students could collect words with different patterns by writing the pattern on the outside of the tab and the words that follow the pattern inside the tab.

Here is a short video clip you can show your kids on how to make it!




I actually wrote a post about using this awhile ago.  Kids created "plot wallets" to retell the beginning, middle, and end of a story.

How to Make It:



How to Use It:


So many ways to use this one!  Especially if you use it for examples and nonexamples- examples of fractions, sentences used correctly, past tense and present tense verbs!  The ideas go on and on!

Here is a short clip showing how to make this one!




I think out of all the sorting mats, this is the one I sued most.  It is simple to make, but engaging for kids and can be used a so many ways!

How to Make It:


In the example above there are only two tabs, but you can just cut more to create multiple tabs.

How to Use It:


These are great in science and social studies to sequence events or life cycles.  The can be used for vocabulary (word on outside and definition and example on the inside).  I even used them as story organizers in how to writing with one tab for first, another for next and so on.

Here is a short clip explaining how to make this one!


I wanted to make a video to show how to make all the mats like I mentioned above.  It is a hot mess!  At first I wanted to make it so you could just show your kids the video on how to make the mat so everyone could see it easily. So, for the most parts, I sound like I am talking to students.  I know you aren't a kid! LOL Then, suddenly I switched to adult mode to explain something to the teacher.  Forgive me.  My TV skills are pitiful! LOL!





If you like these mats and want them ready to go, like what is pictured in the video, check out my latest pack!!!


One skill kids need lots of practice with is adding and subtracting.  I had a friend ask me if I had anything new for adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers.  I was SURE I had tons of stuff.  Oppsies.  Not so much!! I know we practiced it a ton...I just have no idea what we did! LOL!

So I decided to create a new pack! I made a pack of math sorts of addition and subtraction where kids can sort of addition or subtraction or regrouping or no regrouping. I wanted to make it a little more hands on and fun than a regular cut and paste, so each of the sorts are on foldable sorting mats!  They are perfect for interactive notebooks. I made sure to make each of the problems horizontal since subtracting using the algorithm isn't until 4th grade according to the CCS. I also left a work area for each problem so students can choose and record their own strategy. The pack includes two-digit problems and three-digit problems, as well as single step word problems.

You can see some examples in this short video clip.


Want to try it out in your own classroom?  Check out this sampler with two sorts!  Enjoy!


Click here for this great pack of FREE math centers, plus get tips and updates from me!




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1 comment

  1. We make shutter books frequently but I always have a few who crease the middle after I say "just a pinch" 27 thousand times!

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