Sequencing is an activity that Kindergarteners need to practice over and over again! Since sequencing is typically difficult, it is our job as teachers to reinforce this skill regularly! Particularly in stories with multiple events, it is very easy to give students a sequencing activity to reinforce the plot of the story and intensify students’ enjoyment of a beloved tale!
First, I always show students how to do this activity. Throughout the year, students will independently (or in centers) sequence stories; I find that modeling each story is the necessary step to insuring student success. Also, I like to model for students what I expect from them as they complete this activity- I think aloud a lot because I expect them to do the same… I LOVE showing them how to do this with each story!
Then, students review the story and go back and read/look at it for themselves.
(Students need to make a personal connection to literature in order to really learn from it.)
After that, students take out the header cards: beginning, middle and end.
(This step is important because it helps to guide students' thinking. It is important that students remember that sequencing, in its most foundational form, consists of a beginning, a middle and an end.)
Next, students go through the sentence and/or picture cards and place them under the correct heading (beginning, middle or end).
(It is important to provide both sentences AND pictures because having both formats helps allow for differentiation, as well as support and advancement with the activity. If students can only use pictures and cannot really read yet, they can do this activity; however, students who do not need the pictures at all can also complete the activity. In addition, students who are able to read emergent texts will be able to push themselves with these sentences as they match them to the pictures.)
Together, students review the placement of their sentences and/or pictures, stating each piece aloud, in their own words.
(It is important that students talk their way through the sequencing- this works with two separate learning styles. Some students may not see a mistake but will be able to hear it.)
Then, the students make changes and move the sentences and/or picture cards to the proper places… then they re-read through their placements again.
(To build accountability, it is crucial that students be held responsible for quality work. If you know there is a mistake, you need to do your best to fix it.)
And, students find another student (or the teacher) to come check their placements.
(Students must re-tell the story as they show their placements and let the other student (or teacher) help them if they need to correct anything.)
(This is the final step of the process and it allows students to justify their choices and explain their learning to someone else. In the end, they will meet speaking and listening standards while also working through the sequencing skill to solidify their understanding.)
Finally, students copy their placements onto a story map.
(Students choose the most important event from the beginning, the middle and the end and draw or write them into the story map.)
I ask the student who checked the placement how well it was put together (unless I checked it myself). I discuss anything needed with the student who was sequencing.
I check the story map for the following:
Do the events appear in order- beginning, middle and then end?
Are the events drawn/written the important events?
I think it is important to assess students' mastery of this task both formally and informally. I like to have a hard-copy of students' understanding so I can grade that and send it home with feedback; however, I also like to have a visual and/or oral representation of students' learning as well. Sequencing is typically difficult for kindergarten students, so I think it is vital that I assess students' work here to see if re-teaching is needed!
Assessments here don't have to be too difficult. I really like this generalized First, Next and Last Organizer as I can use it for this story or any other!
This activity is really easy to switch up to meet the needs of any story. Although I think aloud through each story’s cards as my example (to set expectations and model my think-alouds), I am able to leave these activities out for extra practice throughout the year without any explanation! These centers are fun for students to go back to, to review and are easy for “early finishers” or even substitute days! This center is really what I make of it!
It is very easy to create different levels of this activity. I often like to have multiple versions of this activity. I have one set with pictures (for my approaching students), one set with sentences (for my beyond group) and one set with pictures and sentences combined (for my on-level group). Most of my center groups have students from different levels, so they can each do the activity on their own, check their partners’ placements and come to conclusions together! I love that added aspect of this center whenever I am able to plan for it! Also, I love that I can challenge and/or support students with this center fairly easily.
Throughout the year, I love to change this activity to meet the needs of different stories because this is always a skill we can work on! I love going from beginning, middle and end to main idea with supporting details. I also love going from first, to next, then and to last or finally. I explain this a little in my first, next, then, last video. Students learn better when things are taught with a natural progression, and I think this activity is perfect for that!
I love to find all sorts of organizers and I like to find different ones to support my activities OR my students! Here are some Comprehension Graphic Organizer Examples.