Retell it in a Picture!

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SWBAT identify the beginning, middle, and end of a story, and retell the sequence through pictures using a sequence organizer and their journal writing.

Big Idea

They read the story, they did the work, now give your students the practice they need to master the art of story sequencing!


Common Core Connection:

The heart of this lesson is the same as the previous lesson, except that students applied the skill of retelling to a text instead of just getting practice with an activity sheet.

The focus for this lesson continues to be RL1.2 and W.1.3, which are well-suited to be taught in tandem given the overlapping skills of using temporal words to retell a series of events.

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson my students re-read the story from the day before and used a Story Sequence Organizer to practice sequencing a story using both words and pictures.



5 minutes

I began today’s lesson by reminding my students we are learning about sequencing, thinking about the story from the beginning, the middle, and the end.  I then instructed them to raise their hands if they could answer these questions:

  • What other words mean beginning, middle, and end?
  • Why is it important to be able to be able to sequence a story?
  • When else do we use sequence?

As I called students to answer these questions the remaining students showed me they agreed with the given answers by showing me a thumb up.

When we finished this review I told my students that today after they read the story The Cat Sat, they would sequence the story using pictures to re-tell the beginning, middle, and end.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

After my students opened their anthology books to The Cat Sat, I reminded them to point to the words with their fingers, look at the words with their eyes, listen to the words with their ears, and think about the words with their brains, I used the magic cup (Demonstration: Magic Cup) to have students take turns reading the story The Cat Sat, stopping after the first two pages and I asked, “What is Sam Cat doing?”  My students called out “He is sitting on the clothes.”  I continued this method throughout the story until we had finished reading.

To end this section of the lesson I gave my students think and partner share time to discuss the beginning, middle, and end of this story.  I used the magic up to call on three partner pairs to share with the class what happen in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.  As these students shared the rest of the class showed me they agreed by showing me a thumb up (Demonstration: Thumb Up, Thumb Down).

When my students finished sequencing the story, I had them stand up and take a stretch break.  First graders (like seasoned teachers!) need to stretch to maintain interest and stay focused.

Whole Group Activity

20 minutes

Once settled back in their chairs I displayed the Story Sequence Organizer on the Promethean board.  As I did I pointed out that today they would not work with a partner, however, they could talk to their table partner about the activity if they wanted to.  We then read the words in each section of the sequence organizers.  From there I explained that they were to:

  • First fold their sequence organizers in half long way, like a hot dog.
  • Then carefully cut on the dotted lines to the fold line.  (I modeled this on the doc-u-cam)
  • Next lift each flap and write on the back a sentence about what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story, as indicated on the front of each flap.  I pointed out that each sentence needed to start with: In the beginning ___.  In the middle ___.  In the end ___.
  • Last draw a picture on the uncut side that went with each sentence.

When I finished giving these directions I asked my students what I just did, they chorused back, gaving the directions.  "Did I give them in sequenced order?" I asked.  "Yes!" they replied back.

From there I used the magic cup to call on a student to retell the directions to the class.  When this student was finished retelling the directions, I passed out their copies of the Story Sequence Organizer.  As my students got started I circled around the room checking in with each student table to make sure all my students understood the directions and were on task.

At the end of 15 minutes I focused my students’ attention back on the Promethean board, as I flipped the switch to use the doc-u-cam I asked my students if any of them wanted to share their sequence organizer with the class.  Because nearly all of them did, I used the magic cup to select three students to bring theirs up to the doc-u-cam and share with the class what they did.  When these three students finished sharing I had the rest of my students hold theirs up so I could see it.  

After reviewing all my student work, I told them they would use this sequence organizer to write in their journals the sequenced events of The Cat Sat, pointing out that nearly all of the work was almost finished.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

At that point I had my students transition into their leveled reading groups, where every 15 to 20 minutes they rotate through different ELA work areas.  One area that I usually include is journal writing, because it gives students time to think about and remember what they just learned in the guided and whole group parts of the lesson, as well as apply it to writing.  Today my students used their Story Sequence Organizers to summarize the story using the words beginning, middle, and end.

The prompt I put on the Promethean board: Use the sentences you wrote on your sequence organizer to retell the story.

At this time of year, it was difficult for most of my students to complete their journals without a prompt.  To help the ones who needed help I put this prompt on the Promethean board: First the cat ___.  The girl ___.  Then the cat ___.  Last the cat ___.  (Journal Sequence)

I checked each journal as my students rotated to my differentiated reading group. (Sequencing with Journal)

Ticket Out the Door

For a sticker my students showed me their completed Story Sequence Organizer and read what they wrote in each section.