Sequencing the Events With "The Big Circle," Day 1 of 2

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SWBAT sequence and write about the events in the story.

Big Idea

Sequencing Events - uh. Adding dinosaurs to the mix - cool!

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

This lesson is designed to help your student's learn to sequence events in a story.  My district has Pearson's Reading Street as a reading series and that's what I will be using as the text for this lesson, but you can use any text from your reading series that would have events that the students could sequence.  I wanted this to be a reading comprehension lesson and not a listening comprehension lesson, so I also just make sure I use a text that my students can read without too much support. 

Before students can sequence a story they need to know the story well.  We will be reading the story, and I will be asking text dependent questions so the students will go back into the story and look for evidence to support their answers.  I will also allow partner groups to practice reading the text together so they have a strong understanding of the story before they have to sequence the story.  As students begin to sequence, they will have to retell the story in order, including the key details.

Besides your students' text, you will want to make sure each student has a copy of a flow map, Flow Map Sequencing.docx. You will also want to have either the flow map posted on your Smartboard Flow Map Sequencing.notebook or Activboard Flow Map Sequencing.flipchart, so you can talk through the expectations for your students.

Reading of The Story

25 minutes

We spent the first part of the lesson reading the text.  Then I asked the comprehension questions that accompany the story in the teacher's edition. My reading series does a good job of asking text dependent questions of my students.  If you are using a different text, I have a resource for you here Prompts for Text Dependent Questions.pdf that gives you prompts that can help you develop text dependent questions for the text you are using.  The important thing when developing questions is to make sure students will have to look back into the text in order to find evidence to answer the questions.

I am always switching up partner groups in my room.  My students need to get used to working with each of their classmates, not just their best buddies.  We have fun ways of picking partners and I've shared these resources with you here: Fun Ways to Group Students, here: Sorting Sticks, and here: Partner Picking Cards.  After I partner students up, they get to decide who is Person 1 and who is Person 2.  This way each child gets to take a turn speaking and then listening.  No one monopolizes the conversation and everyone is responsible for being either the speaker or listener.

I really wanted my students to know the story well before we did any sort of writing activity.  After partnering my students up we started to read and discuss the story.   After I would ask a question Person 1 would get to answer the question by telling their partner.  They had to start off by saying either "The story says..." or "The author says..."  I am really trying to make my students use evidence when answering questions.  Then for the next question, Person 2 would take a turn speaking.  Young children need to discuss the story orally in order to comprehend.  I want to make sure I am offering my students opportunities to do this. 

After we read the story once as a class and I asked questions, I sent my partner groups back to their seats to read the story at least one more time.  Person 1 would read a page, then Person 2 would read a page and so on until they read the entire story.

Explaining My Expectations

5 minutes

The next part of our lesson consisted of explaining my expectations to the class.  We had done several lessons already where students had to sequence both in whole group and small group reading lessons so I knew we didn't have to spend time on guided practice.  I felt I could explain my expectations to the class for what I wanted them to do for their independent work. 

I passed out the flow maps to each of my students and I projected my flow map up on my Smartboard.  I explained that I wanted the students to tell their audience what the main idea of our story was about in our first box, then sequence the next 4 major events using temporal words in the 4 middle boxes, and then to provide a sense of closure in their last box.  I have a short video here that explains it in a bit more detail if you need a better idea: Explaining Indpendent Work - The Big Circle.mp4.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

It was time for my students to collaborate with their partners and fill out their flow maps to sequence the story.  I walked around the room, helping students if they forgot what to put in the main idea box, or didn't know exactly what the 4 major events were.

Instead of telling them answers, I would respond with questions.  I would say things like, "What was the main idea?  What was this story mostly about?  Do you think that's an important enough detail that you should include it as one of the 4 major events in the story?  How do we end the story? What did you learn from the story?"

I wanted to encourage thinking in my classroom.  I don't want my students seeing me as the "supreme master of knowledge."  I want them to write what they think, not write what they think I want to hear.

You can see my students completing their maps in this video here Creating The Big Circle.mp4.


5 minutes

With today's closure, I just wanted to sum up our learning quickly.  I said, "What did we do today?  Why is it important to learn how to sequence a story?  What was our main idea?  What was our first major event?  Then what happened?  What did you write for a closure?"

Then I told my students that we would write and edit our good copies tomorrow and then make our our art project to go along with our writing.