When you count, you begin with one, two, three; it’s as simple as can be. Whenever we teach anything there is a sequence to it. If we didn’t have a sequence to get things one, there would be mass chaos! I mean, imagine if you poured the milk before you got the bowl for cereal! Sequencing is an important skill we need to teach students in the classroom and there are so many ways to do it with sequencing activities!
Use Visuals for Sequencing Activities
I am a big promoter of using visuals in the classroom for anything from classroom management to classroom activities. Using visuals as a sequencing activity is incredibly helpful because if a step is missed, students can see it right away! Take making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for example. If I give students pictures of all of the steps and let them color it in, they can toggle the pieces around to make the sandwich correctly. Because students can move it around, they can see when they made a mistake. Did I put the sandwich together before I added the jelly? If so, just move your pieces until you get it right.
While making a sandwich might seem too simple for a sequencing activity, there are several other sequencing picture cards you can use to increase the rigor. Some ideas include:
- Brushing your teeth
- Getting dressed
- Making cookies
- Everyday events
- Order of operations (advanced level!)
- Turning in an assignment (what a great classroom procedure activity!)
Ordering Events with Sequencing Task Cards
Once your students have mastered putting ideas in order with visuals, they can start using sequencing task cards. Task cards are great for review, bell ringers, exit slips, and fast finishers. When you use task cards, you want to make sure you keep them organized. Why? Because one of the benefits of task cards is you can easily differentiate what students are doing. Some students might be ready to put the ideas in order just by reading the steps. However, some might need pictures to help them out. With task cards, you can give them a task card that has a sequencing activity at his/her level.
In addition to learning materials, you can also use task cards to show and practice daily routines. This not only helps with sequencing, but can also help with classroom management and organization.
Fill in the Blank with Sentence Starters
Filling in the blank with sentence starters is something you might want to start as a teacher-led center activity or as a whole group. When you do this, I would use an anchor chart that has the sequencing activity on the top. Then I would write in the sequencing words like next, afterward, and then. As a group you fill in the steps a person would need to do to complete the activity. If you want to have a little fun with it, have a student “act out” the steps. By doing this, you are giving your students something to visually look at and they can easily see if they make a mistake.
Sequencing Activities that Ask Students to Write it Out
Once your students are getting well-versed in sequencing, you can have them start writing or typing! By using story sequencing or digital sequencing activities, you can have your students write down the steps using complete sentences. This helps students not only see the importance of organizing when writing, but also the importance of writing complete sentences that make sense. You can do this with sequencing writing prompts or with ideas you have already discussed in class.
As a challenge, you can ask students to make their own sequencing sentences and pictures. Then have another student try to complete the task. Not only is this a fun activity, but it is a great way to assess how well students have mastered sequencing. Inventing is always the hardest part of learning!
No matter what we do or where we go, there is going to be an order to what needs to happen first, second, and so on. Teaching sequencing in the classroom is an ongoing activity that can be fun! All you need are some pictures and a little creativity and your students will love the sequencing activities you do in your classroom.