This post is all about one of my favorite things, teaching reading skills! I love how topics can be broken down, defined, and differentiated in fun and interactive ways! I personally teach 5th grade emerging readers, so I will talk about how to teach Sequence of Events in a way that can be used for 3rd-5th graders. I even used this particular lesson with my 6th grade reading intervention and ELD students as well! This activity is designed to teach, review, and scaffold the skill “sequence of events”. This is best used to introduce the skill, use as a station, or as an intervention.
Prep Tips- Do it once, use for years!
Before we get started, because this resource can be used with such a wide range of students, I HIGHLY recommend prepping this as a reusable station. That means taking the time to laminate, use velcro, and store them so that you can pull them out multiple times per year, for many years to come. I have been in 3 grade levels over the past 10 years and the amount of time I have saved by prepping this activity for the long haul….wow, PRICELESS in the teacher world! That being said, you can also easily print and use as regular worksheets if you don’t have the time to prep it all, right now 🙂
Here are some links to the things I use to make these reusable stations:
Step #1 Defining The Skill
Although going through this poster with students isn’t going to teach them the skill itself, it sets the stage that a new topic is going to be learned. It begins the lesson as well as possibly activating prior knowledge if this is a spiral topic. Then we go through some examples of clue words that might help us recognize a sequence in our text. After I read the examples listed on the poster to them, I will ask students to talk with their partners about any other sequencing words they can think of, and write them down on a whiteboard or a piece of paper. Then we can share out as a group. You can use the sentence frame “one sequencing clue word my partner and I know of is_________”. This ensures partners are talking, doing the task asked of them, and are prepared to share. We mean business!
Step #2 Picking Out “First” and “Last”
This is one I would for sure laminate for a small group! Because the students can quickly do this skill by checking off the correct answer with an expo marker.
TEACHER TIP! Did you know you could write and erase on laminate with dry and wet expo markers? If any retiring teachers leave behind any ancient wet erase markers from their projector days, TAKE THEM! We love them along with a wet wipe for these reusable mats even more than the dry erase. You can also get them cheap on amazon here.
For this activity, I start in sections. I will have the students do the left side first, which asks them to read mixed up events of a short story or scenario, and then decide which event should be first. Using the sentence frame poster you can decide if you want them to do a quick “____ happened first”, or can have them sequence all steps in order. I will assign partners in the group to have one of the sentence frames filled out on their white board and be prepared to share.
Step #3 Ordering a Short Paragraph with Simple Sentences
Here is another example of how laminating and velcro can save you time. You wouldn’t have to deal with cutting and glue! This helps my group cut down on time and focus on the skill when we are rushing through rotations (which is required at my school by the way!). It can also help students with special needs and decrease frustration for students who might need support in that area.
For this scaffolded portion of the lesson, in a partnership, I have the pair take off all the pieces and lay them on the desk. They can manipulate the order of these events until they feel they are in the right spot. When they are waiting for others to finish, they can underline the clue words they see in the events. I then go down the line and have them give a thumbs up if they are correct so far. There is a part of the events that the students will disagree on, “do you brush your teeth before you eat breakfast?!” It causes an uproar and allows for some fun talk time to encourage community and students getting to know each other. It also lends a teachable moment where we won’t always have clue words to help us order! I have taught this lesson so many times, and it happens every single time 🙂
Step #4 Independently Working and Connecting Skills
This portion is designed to have students use a “sequence clue word”, and use their skills in Cause and Effect to determine an event that COULD have happened before or after the other. At this point, I will encourage them to try this part of the activity independently, and THEN share with their partner, before with the group. This lets them test the waters of working on their own, but then checking with a peer for reassurance or guidance before the group comes back together. I will also ensure they have their clue words underlined in their sentences they created as well.
TIMING AND PLANNING—The next two steps I usually do on DAY 2 of small groups because this is already a lot to fit into 30 minutes. If doing a whole group lesson for the duration of your reading block, you could certainly fit this all in one day!
Step #5 Reviewing
This activity was created to have my students “put it all together”. It reviews all the skills so far, and they will show me what they remember, and can do independently. This portion has 2 sets of “Order the photos”. Students order them and then create a complete sentence (with a sequencing word) for each event. At the end, they should be able to read all 3 sentences in a row, to match what they believe is happening within the photos. I will encourage them to use the sentence frames provided for this portion if their sentences are incomplete or don’t contain sequence clue words.
Step #6: Assess
Usually by this time, they say how it’s “so easy” and how they are ready for “the last level”. I love seeing them have fun and believe in themselves during reading. It brings me so much joy as a teacher!
We’ve made it to the last part of this lesson. Students should be feeling more confident that they can sequence on their own. Students will read a full page passage. They need to sequence the events in the story by drawing a photo that goes along with the event, and adding sentences including a sequencing clue word. There are two different passages to choose from. I will use one for the assessment, and use the other as a reteach for students who did not show mastery on the assessment.
The best part about this, is that we use this same scaffolded approach for all the skills in our reading curriculum, so the students get used to the quick pace, the increasing challenges, and they have fun!
Thanks for reading! We hope this was helpful for you 🙂
Good news! We have this similar format for MANY other skills
If you want to check out the other reading skill bundles we have, here they are:
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