Categorization is so important to work on with our students. Categorization is the act of sorting and organizing objects/things into different groups or categories by like attributes. This is a foundational skill our students need to work on before targeting more challenging skills such as identifying similarities/differences between items or comparing/contrasting items. I always have several students with different categorization goals which may include naming categories, identifying items within a given category, or identifying which item does not belong in the category which is why I created this Category Mega Pack. I wanted to share a little more about this resource I created a while ago and how I use the mega pack with my students.
This packet is over 100 pages with several different category related activities plus anchor charts for 8 different common categories. For me I printed out the entire pack and store the sheets in page protectors in a 3 ring binder. This makes it easy for me to take out sheets and make copies of them as needed for my students. Sometime I make copies of several sheets or sections of the packet for a specific student. Then I have a folder for that student so I can use a sheet during therapy or send a sheet home for homework.
I divided the mega pack into simple category activities and more complex category activities depending on your students’ skill levels. The simple category activities include category sort, coloring objects within a given category, answering visual category questions, matching pictures to categories, and circling item within the same category. The activities can be done independently or use can use them during therapy sessions or teacher time depending on how much direct instruction your students need.
For the category sort I may also use it as a receptive language task and have the student identify the different items and color them specific colors before the student cuts out the pictures to sort. For example, “color the turtle green” or “find the bike and color it blue”. You can also work on having your student name all the pictures before he/she sorts them if they are working on naming item. You can target expanding utterances and have your student name the item and the category in which the item belongs. For example, “the turtle is an animal” and “bike is a vehicle”.
You can also expand the color the pictures within the category activity. For example, after your student finds and colors all the vehicles you may provide additional directions for them to do. This may include “circle all the food items”, “put an X on the school supplies”, “put a box around the toys”, and so forth. Again, you can work on both receptive and expressive language skill during this task. You can have your student point to the item as you name it or have your student name all the vehicles, toys, or food items on that particular sheet.
You may need to read the category questions to your student for the answer the category question section. Have the student point to or name the picture to answer the question before he/she colors the picture.
I wanted to work on my students reading or recognizing some of those common category names which is why I created match the picture to the written category name section. If you student can’t read then you can read them the category name on the right and then have him/her find the picture on the left to match that category name.
The last activity in this section is the student needs to find the item which belongs in the same category as the picture presented. If you student is verbal he/she can name the item on the left side and tell you what category the item belongs to. For example, “Car is a vehicle” and “bus is a vehicle”. “Car and bus are both vehicles”. There are different ways to adapt the activity depending on if you student is verbal or nonverbal and expanding on what the student knows.
The Complex Category Activities include 9 different types of activities with 5 versions of each one. The activities include write the category name, name the category, what doesn’t belong, identify the category, answer the category questions, follow directions, draw items, find the correct category, and circle all items in the category. Several of these activities require the student to write but you can also adapt it if you student uses an AAC device. I also have a student who I scan these sheets onto his iPad app and he types the answers on the worksheet. It is awesome!
Write the category name requires the student to identify which category the 3 items belong to. You can always write a choice of categories on a white board to help the students if they need a choice of answers.
Write the category name when given only one picture. This is challenging for many of my students because they often want to write the name of the object and I work with them on identifying or naming the category in which that item belongs and not just naming the item. I use this activity with my students with AAC systems because after they find the category name on the device they can use the written word on the device to write it on their worksheet.
Circle the one which doesn’t belong. If your student is verbal you can also have your student tell you the reason why the item does not belong. For example, “The milk does not belong because it is not an animal” or “The flower doesn’t belong because it is not a place.”
I like the next task because the student has to come up with different items which belong to the given category. I also try to have my students work on spelling out the words themselves.
This is another challenging activity. The student has to identify which category the item belongs to given a choice of 3 categories and then write the letter of the alphabet associated with that category. So they would put an A next to the item if it was a holiday.
There are several other more complex challenging category activities to use with your students. This gives you lots or ready to use options for your students.
The last part of the pack are category boards. These are a go to for me. I use them a lot with different groups for therapy. I have them all cut and laminated and store them in a container so they are easy for me to grab and bring with me. There are 8 different category boards with 12-15 pictures to go along with each category. This activity if flexible because you can have the student sort by 2 very different categories to begin with like “animals” and “shapes” or “toys” and “food” and then you can move up to sorting by 4 or more categories. This also builds up the student’s vocabulary skills.
You can find this Category Mega Pack on TPT with the link – Category Mega Pack