Sequencing through Comic Strips

4 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT use a comic strip form to sequence an unfamiliar story they read with their reading partner.

Big Idea

Your students will find sequencing much more exciting when they add a comic flair to this activity!


After yesterday’s reading of Butterfly by Mary Ling I realized that my students were very familiar and good at retelling the sequence of events in the life cycle of a butterfly.  I wanted to see if they would do as well with a story that was not as familiar to them.  To help my students identify the main idea and retelling the sequence of events in a story, in today’s lesson my students read The Ant and the Butter fly Chrysalis by Aesop, and re-told it through a comic strip format.

Common Core Connection:

Part of Common Core calls for students to read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts.  Thinking about this and wanting to give my students a little more experience in order to master RL.1.2, I decided to try something a little different.  Instead of me reading the Houghton Mifflin read aloud variation of the Aesop Fables The Ant and the Chrysalis, why not let my students read it?

Lesson Overview:

In today’s lesson my student’s partner read The Ant and the Chrysalis and then used a ‘comic strip’ layout to retell the story.


  • Student Reading Sheet: The Ant and the Chrysalis (one per student)                                                               (These were copied from Houghton Mifflin Reading Theme 8: Our Earth, The Ant and the Chrysalis
  • ((If you do not use this same curriculum try: The Ant and the Butterfly Chrysalis, by Aesop (available on kindle through Amazon))
  • Comic Organizer Activity Sheet: Teacher Created
  • 3x3 sticky notes, 4 per student
  • 12x18 construction paper, cut length wise in thirds



5 minutes

I began this lesson with my students sitting on their rug squares and reminding them to keep the answer in their brain asked:

  • Does a butterfly start as a butterfly? 

As hands began to go up, I used the magic cup to select a student to answer the question.  When this student finished re-telling the life cycle of the butterfly, I told my students they were very good at retelling the sequence of events of the butterfly’s life cycle.  But could they do as well with a different story (I wondered out loud).  My students were intrigued by the sound of my voice and asked what they were going to do today.

I told them today they would read a short story, The Ant and the Chrysalis, and reminded them that they needed to listen to and think about the story because I had a special treat for them.


Guided Practice

15 minutes

From there I had my students take a stretch and slowly stretch out their arms and flap them gracefully like a butterfly, and then they walked to their desks.  Adding a movement with the stretching not only motivates students to want to participate in the lesson, but it helps develop their vocabulary and lets them express themselves creatively.

When all my students were seated at their desks I explained that today they were going to do something different instead of writing in their journals. I continued by stating first they would partner read The Ant and the Chrysalis.  I then had my students stand up and find a partner, other than their table partner.  When we do this, they usually take their pencils with them and sit at which ever partner’s desk they are closest to.  Next I passed out their copied Student Reading Sheets: The Ant and the Chrysalis, with the instructions that the partner on the right side of the desk read first.  I further explained that the partner on the right would read only the paragraphs marked "1" and the partner on the left would read only the paragraphs marked "2".  Note, because this is a copied sheet from the TE edition of our anthology, to make it easier for my students to determine whose turn it was to read, I marked off the paragraphs and penciled in ‘Reader 1’ and ‘Reader 2’. (See Student Reading Sheet: The Ant and the Chrysalis in Preview Section of this lesson)

As my students began to read, I circled around to each reading pair to monitor their reading and progress.  When my students were finished reading I directed them to think about the events in the story.  (Partners usually finish reading at about the same time, which means there is not a lot of wait time. In the event that a pair finish a littler earlier they can re-read the selection, look at their library book, or even get up to take a quiet stretch.  By the time they finish any of these brief activities the rest of the class is usually finishing up.)  


Collaborative Activity

20 minutes

Once they were finished reading I told them today, instead of writing in their journals, they were going to create a comic strip to retell the story they just read. 

To do this I directed their attention onto the Comic Organizer Activity Sheet I had up on the Promethean board and told them they were to think about what the characters did during each part of the story.  Then to help them develop their comic strip they were to complete the top part of the organizer by writing a few words or a little sentence about what each character did or felt throughout the story.  When they finished the top part they were to use the bottom part to draw or write what they wanted their comic strip to look like.  The accompanying picture, Comic Organizer, shows what my Beginning Reading Group dictated to me, when I re-met with them for a review because they were having problems writing single words or brief notes to help re-tell the sequence of events.

I gave my students time to finish this activity sitting with their reading partners, even though it is not really a collaborative one.  I did this because my students were settled and comfortable where they were.


Independent Practice

15 minutes

As my students were finishing up their activity sheets I gave the directions for their Independent work.  Instead of writing the sequence of events in their journals they were to take one sticky note and draw what happened in the beginning and add a caption, and do the same for the middle, the end, including how the ant felt at the end. (I included how the ant felt to finish off the comic strip and his feeling were mentioned in the story, but not the focus of this lesson)  When my students finished drawing on the sticky notes they were to stick them to the piece of pre-cut construction paper. (See Student Work Sample)  I then gave my students a moment to think about what they were going to do, and used the magic cup to select a student to re-explain to the class what they were going to do.

When I was satisfied that all my little ones understood what they were going to do we broke up into our differentiated reading group rotation.  As my students rotated through each reading area, which includes working on the computer and reading with me, they write independently in their journals.  The only difference to the routine, today they worked on re-telling through a comic strip instead of a journal.

I checked each comic strip for understanding and completeness as each group rotated through me.  The three accompanying videos in this section depict work samples from a student in my highest and second highest reading groups, and an ELL student.

Ticket Out the Door

5 minutes

To earn a sticker, my students formed groups of three and each student retold the events in one section of the story.