08 Aug 2018
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Values Sort Activity for Students

UPDATED 4/2021:

This is probably my favorite activity to do. I engage it in at least twice a year personally and professionally. Here is my most recent example. AND there are so many curricular extensions too…

Context and Clarification to the Values and Goal-Setting Activities

I think it is always important to start with the why of an activity so here are a few nuggets to ruminate on:

  • College and Career Readiness Skills: Working at a high school, college and career readiness skills are naturally at the forefront of my mind and personal and academic goal-setting is an important part of that process. If values are not at the foundation, the goals tend to fall by the wayside because they are not intrinsic to who they are and what they value.
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health: SEL skills and mental health are even more imperative than before. And being able to narrow your focus and really understand yourself at your core in every season of your life is truly an opportunity we don’t provide enough to ourselves or our students.
  • Research and Real Life: When I was doing research for both of my school and life-ready books Cultivating Communication in the Classroom and Creatively Productive, I ventured out into reading books and collecting anecdata from entrepreneurs, life coaches, successful business owners, etc… and while each definitely highlighted the need for goal-setting… all of them were firmly rooted in the process of deciphering your values first.

Explanation of Values Activity and Documents

As of lately, I have been trying to create resources that are accessible and editable. While there are many activities online that are values audits, very few of them are editable or anything more than a list, which is fine, but I wanted this activity to be fun and engaging too. And I think by making it feel like poetry magnets, it also adds a tactile sort of component to the process. I also wanted to make it editable so students or teachers could add the core set of values they wanted to start sorting rather than use a default list. Both the Numbers and Google Slides versions can be found in the Doc Locker below.

  • Numbers: The Numbers version is editable and designed for MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. It is pretty simplistic in nature as I really wanted you and your students to have the opportunity to modify it as you see fit.
  • Google Slides: The Google Slides version is editable and strongly resembles the poetry magnet activities Edutech for Teachers and Shake Up Learning and Free Tech for Teachers create with Google Slides and/or Google Jamboard. 
  • Additional Resources: I also wanted to provide you with some additional tools. Please know that because these have been created by other people, the values themselves may not be editable and you may come across a few that you feel are not age-appropriate. That being said… they are still great resources to explore.
    • PDF: So I didn’t create my own PDF for you but there are plenty out there and I did link to them for you here.
    • Online: I also found some online versions if you want to play around with them:
  • OMT – Curricular Extensions: I absolutely love creative writing SO I wanted to mention that this activity could also be turned into a values audit for a historical figure or a literary character. One could also reverse this activity and use it in conjunction with a digital wellness or digital citizenship lesson and have students examine a social media feed (e.g. personal, professional, political, business, etc…) and evaluate the values of that person or entity based on what they share.


TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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