Closed and Open Word Sorts
List between 10 and 20 key words from a unit of study or reading selection on the board or on index cards. If doing a closed word sort, also generate the categories for the words to be sorted into. As described above, you can alternatively ask students to identify the key words themselves, particularly if you are using this activity to review or reflect on a book or unit already completed.
Divide the class into small groups of four or five students. Distribute the index cards, if applicable.
Carefully consider group membership, being mindful of which students are likely to work together most effectively.
For a closed word sort, provide students with the categories into which they will sort the vocabulary words. For an open word sort, instruct the student teams to suggest categories for organizing the words.
As students become more adept at this task, they can move towards open word sorts.