Lesson plan

Picture This: The Ugly Duckling!

Your students have probably heard of "The Ugly Duckling," but have they ever tried to put the events of the story in order? In this simple sequencing lesson, young readers match illustrations to text and put them into the proper order.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the All About Sequencing pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the All About Sequencing pre-lesson.

Students will be able to retell stories by properly sequencing text and images.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the students.
  • Display the title page of "The Ugly Duckling" interactive story.
  • As you display the cover of the story say, "This is the story of 'The Speedy Worm.'"
  • Wait for the students to object, then say, "Oh, you're right! This is the story of 'The Angry Goldfish!'"
  • Wait for the students to correct you. Ask the students to explain how they knew the story was about "The Ugly Duckling."
  • Let students know that today, they'll be using pictures and words to put this story in order.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite the students to recall the name for someone who draws the pictures.
  • Explain that the artist who draws the pictures can also be called the illustrator. Explain that pictures can also be called illustrations.
  • Open the interactive story to the first illustration. Invite the students to describe what they see on the page.
  • Read the text on the page and then proceed to the next page.
  • Continue this process while calling on different students to describe the illustrations and then predict what the text will say. Mute or pause the narration as the students contribute.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that they will be pointing to pictures as you read the story again.
  • Give every student the Ugly Duckling story cards sheet.
  • Explain that the pictures are all mixed up. Tell your students to think about the words that you read and point to the pictures that match your words.
  • Read the story aloud, pausing after each main event. Watch to ensure that your students put their fingers on the correct pictures as you read.
(15 minutes)
  • The students will use the Ugly Duckling sequencing boxes to match illustrations with corresponding text.
  • Have them cut out the Ugly Duckling story cards sheet and glue them into the boxes with the correct text.
  • Explain that the numbers in the text boxes will help them put the illustrations in order. Model how to do the first one.
  • Remind your students to lay all of the illustrations out in their text boxes before gluing. This will help them avoid frustration if they get one or two out of order.
  • Walk around the room and observe the students. Offer support when needed.


  • Give simple clues to help struggling students figure out which illustrations go where. If needed, pull these students aside for another short reading of The Ugly Duckling Returns by Tony Bradman.


  • Have students color the pictures if they finish early.
  • Encourage students to write and illustrate their own short story instead of coloring.
(5 minutes)
  • Call on every student during the reading of the story. Each student should be asked to describe something in the illustrations.
  • Assess how well students describe the characters and action in the story. If a student focuses on the wrong details, such as the color of the sun, prompt the student to describe what is happening in the illustration.
  • During guided practice, check for students who hesitate to point at the pictures. Slow down to give every student a chance to find the right illustration before moving on.
  • Sit near struggling students and observe them to identify common areas of difficulty.
  • Take note of students who need further instruction.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite your students to think about the lesson.
  • Invite the students to describe the key terms.
  • Ask them to think about the sequence of the story.
  • Invite them to describe events that happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
  • Encourage your students to retell the story to their families when they get home.

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