This post is for Gigi who asked how I have my ending sound sorts set up on the shelf.
I change the containers, style of letters, and objects quite frequently. For example, one of the sound sorts used to be in this bucket and we used our small sandpaper letters:
Sometimes I use wooden magnetic letters. Right now I have several out at once in small Christmas cookie tins from the dollar store like these and printed letters from the Nienhuis-Font version of the printed moveable alphabet:
Off topic...check out the box I'm using for objects to use with the moveable alphabet right now, it's super Christmassy (dollar store again)!
What doesn't change is the general contents of the container: objects, letters, and a train.
I have many little trains like this one cut out and laminated. The engine is in color for beginning sound sorts, the car in the middle for middle sounds, and the caboose for ending sounds.
The first couple of times Kal-El did ending sound sorts I was careful to have all of the initial sounds the same so he couldn't try to sort them by initial sound instead. I have a lot of phonics objects and I was still only had enough variety to do these with a couple initial letters (objects starting with P, S, and D I think) all of my other letters didn't have enough different ending sounds. Now he has learned to check the train to decide how to sort them so it doesn't matter.
I have not done any middle sound sorts with him yet. I am intimidated by the fact that I don't have enough, if any, objects that begin and end with the same letter while differing in the middle. I do have a free activity printed out from Montessori for Everyone that addresses this.
Another variable is how many objects there are per letter and how many letters are in the box. I try to have the same number of objects per letter as a control of error. With initial sound sorts I started with two letters per box and eventually moved up to six. When we started ending sound sorts I knocked that back down to two. For a while we did only ending sound sorts and had built up that number again. I just recently changed the number of boxes available at once on the shelf and decided to temporarily cut down the number of letters back to two.
I usually go into the school room at 7 p.m. for about 15 minutes each night right after I tuck the boys in bed. One of the things I do during that time is change around the object boxes and sound sorts.