Lesson plan

Super Sequencing!

Teach your students about sequencing with this creative language arts lesson. After putting events in order and drawing their own stories, kids will be pros at using the words "first," "next," "then," and "last."
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In this lesson plan geared toward first and second grade learners, students are introduced to the word “sequence” and the important role it plays in both reading and writing. Using familiar routines and worksheets to help guide them, learners will gain practice sequencing events using the sequence words “first,” “next,” “then,” and “last.” To practice their super sequencing skills, students will work in partners to apply sequence words and logic to picture stories that they are asked to reorder before working individually to create their own story sequence.

Students will be able to use sequence words to describe the order of events in a story.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to describe their morning routine before coming to school. Let two or three students share their routines with the group.
  • Explain that today they will learn the word sequence. Sequence is the order in which things happen. Good readers need to know about sequence because it helps them understand different stories. Good writers need to know about sequence because they need to make sure the events of their stories make sense in order.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that you would like to share with them the sequence of your morning routine.
  • As you tell the students your routine, hold up the corresponding printed image for each step. For example say, "First, I wake up and put on my warm and cozy slippers. Next, I go and brush my teeth using my purple toothbrush. Then, I go to the kitchen and eat a bowl of cereal and drink some orange juice. Last, I put on my coat and come to school."
  • Make sure that you use the words first, next, then and last in your description of your morning routine. Emphasize each of these words as you speak.
  • After you have finished describing your morning routine, "accidentally" drop all of the picture cards on the floor. Pick up the cards and hang them up out of order on the board using magnets or tape.
  • Ask the students if they can help you put the cards in the correct order. Make sure to let students specifically describe where to place each card.
  • Guide them towards using the sequencing words. For example, ask questions such as, "What happened last? What happened first?"
  • When the cards have been correctly sequenced by the group, explain that you heard the students use some special words. The words first, next, then, and last are sequencing words. Explain that these words help tell us the order in which events happened.
  • Retell the sequence of your morning routine again using the sequence words.
  • Place the sequence word index cards above or below each picture. Emphasize again that these key words tell the reader about the order of the story.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that you have more stories that need to be put in order and labeled.
  • This time, show the students the Picture Sequencing worksheet. Discuss what is occurring in each picture.
  • Separate students into partnerships for a conversation about the sequencing worksheet. Have partners build on each other's comments or link their comments to the their partner's. Provide some of the following sentence frames:
    • "I agree with ____ because..."
    • "I disagree with ____ because..."
    • "What you said made me think about...."
  • Model using the sentence frames and building on the comments of others through multiple exchanges with a student volunteer.
  • Have each student work with a partner to determine which two events likely occurred first. As a group, write a sentence to describe the events. Make sure to use sequencing words. Tip: allow students to cut out the events, put them in order, paste them on a white construction sheet, and then write the sentences if they need addtional support with sequencing the events.
  • Have students continue to work with their partners, then go over the answers as a group.
(15 minutes)
  • Give each student a Draw a Story worksheet. Have students create at least three more events to complete the story. Have students label each picture with a sequence word.


  • Students in need of a greater challenge can be given another copy of the Draw a Story worksheet to complete. On this copy, their stories should be as creative as possible.


  • Students in need of extra help can be asked to focus on ordering things in the order of beginning, middle, and end instead of first, next/then, last.
  • Provide separate paper for writing the sequencing sentences if students need more room to write.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask students to use sequence words to describe the pictures they drew while sharing the pictures in small groups or partnerships.
  • To assess student understanding over the course of the lesson, walk around the room while students are working.
  • At the end of the exercise, collect the students’ worksheets. Review them later for further assessment.
(5 minutes)
  • Call students together as a group. Ask them to tell about the new words they used today. Ask:
    • "Why do good readers and writers need to know and use these words?
    • "How did you know how to order and label the pictures?"
    • "What text evidence from the pictures help you determine the sequencing of the pictures?"
  • During the conversation, model building onto students' comments or linking students' comments.
  • Remind students that sequence means the order in which things happen. Words such as first, next, then, and last tell us about sequence.
  • Encourage students to find these words in their independent reading.

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