The Importance of Sequencing

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SWBAT use a graphic organizer to identify the beginning, middle, and end of a story, then use the graphic organizer to summarize the story in journal writing.

Big Idea

In this lesson your students will gain more experience identifying the beginning, middle, and end of a story, while learning why it is important to be able to do so.


Common Core Connection:

Working with young children, who are on the cusp of learning to read, write, and communicate in a formal school setting, is always an interesting challenge.  Young children are so excited, eager, and sometimes scared to talk, that they talk so fast they tumble over their words.  Or they know what they are talking about, and they want you to know so badly too that it just all comes out in a stream of consciousness - no rhyme or reason, just events and people, things and happenings all at once.  We all know that when a story or event is told in sequence it becomes clear and easy to follow.  That is why CCRA.R.2: determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development, summarize the key supporting details and ideas, is such an important crucial skill for students to learn.

By starting slow, with RL1.2, students are ensured to master this big standard, with exposure to a range of texts and tasks that will help them understand this vital reading and communication skill.  In this lesson students will practice sequencing a story and apply their understanding of the skill in their writing, so they will also engage with W.1.3, which really complements RL.1.2.

Lesson Overview:

Today, after re-reading the big book text, my students practice identifying and retelling the literary text from the beginning, middle, and end.  They then summarized the story in their journals using the new temporal words they are learning.



5 minutes

To begin this lesson I asked the students if they remembered yesterday’s story, I Am Six.  Nearly all of my students did (Sequencing Continued).  I reminded them that stories have a beginning, middle, and end; and that knowing the sequence of events in a story helps us to picture what is happening and when.   I then instructed the class to listen carefully and look at the pictures as I re-read the story.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

When I finished reading the story I told them I only wanted them to think about the beginning.  To help them I told them the beginning is short.  I then modeled what it would sound like, “In the beginning of I Am Six the children are all six years old.”  I showed the big book to my students and used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to select a student to show and tell the class the beginning part of the story.  After this child showed the class the beginning of the story, the rest of the students showed me they agreed by showing a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).   

I moved to the middle part of the story.  The middle I tell my students is longer and where most of the action happens.  Again I had them think about what happened only in the middle of the story, instructing them to think about where the children are in the pictures and what the words said.  After some think time I had them whisper into their hands (Demonstration: Whisper to Me) what happened in the middle.  Because it is important validate what children do, I had them all whisper back to me what happened in the middle of this story.  I then modeled what the words should sound like, “In the middle of I Am Six the children are…”  I then instructed my students to share with their table partners what happened in the middle of the story. 

Satisfied that my students understood what was happening in the middle part of the story, I re-showed the pictures in the big book to validate their answers.  I told my students the end of the story is just that, how the story ends.  In this case I posed the question: ‘How did this story end?  And had my little ones whisper their answer in their hands.  Again I selected a student pair from the magic cup to tell the class the end of the story. These students answered the story ended by the children in the picture waving and saying we are six.   When they were finished I showed the last page of the story and said, “Yes, we are all six.”

I also want to note that throughout this guided practice, I was modeling the appropriate use of details from the story, which is another big part of retelling successfully. However, I don't want to overload students, who are still getting used to simply retelling events in order and identifying what is happening in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Retelling using appropriate, text-based details will have to be saved for another day!

Collaborative Activity

20 minutes

I then had my students stand up and take a little stretch and walk to their desks like six year a old (Demonstration: Adding Movement).  Once settled at their desks I displayed the Story Sequence Organizer on the Promethean board, and pointed to words in each section and I had my students read each section with me.  As my students read I pointed out that the words beginning and first meant the same thing, the same was true for the words middle and next, as well as with the words end and last.  I continued by explaining today they would work with their table partner to fill in each section to re-tell what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story I Am Six.  To do this, I told them, they could quietly talk to each other about the story, using the words beginning, middle, and end.  I then modeled how this would sound by pretending to work with my ‘table partner,’ saying: ‘In the beginning of the story the children were at school, let’s write that.’

To make sure all my students understood what they were going to do, I used the magic cup to select a student to re-state the directions to the class.  When this student finished I passed out the student copies of the Story Sequence Organizer.  As my students began to work I circled the classroom, checking in on all student pairs to make sure they were on task, then pulled my Beginning Readers to work with me.  With this group I basically read each section and asked them what happened during the beginning, middle, and end of the story, as they told me, I encouraged them to write their answers as best they could.

At the end of 15 minutes I had my students stop working and drew their attention to the displayed Story Sequence Organizer, using the magic cup I pulled students to tell the class what they and their table partner wrote in each section.  As these students shared I wrote their answers on the Promethean board and asked the rest of the class if they had written something similar. 

To close this lesson I restated that all stories, no matter how short or long have a beginning, middle, and end.  Knowing the sequence of events in a story helps us to picture what is happening and when.  With that we moved into the independent block of the lesson.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

During this time my students are re-grouped in their leveled reading groups and rotate every 15 to 20 minutes through ELA activities.  One activity being journal writing, where my students are given the opportunity to demonstrate they remember and able to apply what they have just learned during the guided and collaborative activities.

Today I explained to my students they were to use their completed activity sheet to summarize the beginning, middle, and end of I Am Six.  I pointed out that during their journal writing they were to use the words beginning, middle, and end.  To further help my students with this new concept, I modeled what a summary of this story would sound like, by stating: 'In the beginning of I Am Six they children are at school playing.  In the middle the children are working and painting.  At the end of the story all the children are happy' I also included a very scripted journal prompt.

The journal prompt I put on the Promethean board: In the beginning of I Am Six ___.  In the middle ___.  At end ___.

 As each reading group rotated to my differentiated reading group I checked each students journal for understanding and completeness. 

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

For a sticker my students told me why it was important to know the sequence of events in a story.