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Why Sequencing Activities?

Teaching students how to sequence is an essential skill in education. The focus on learning how to do it is typically taught in lower grades and in many special education classrooms throughout all grades. Sequencing is important because even our daily routines involve sequenced events, such as getting dressed or making a snack.

Sequencing activities are especially beneficial when you incorporate visual aids. Using a storyboard enables the student to visualize the activity and make connections between a picture and the activity that is or needs to be taking place. Storyboards are also a great sequencing tool because they are made up of cells in a row or column, or both, which helps students keep ideas, details, and pictures in the correct order. Having students manipulate the events, whether on a computer or in paper form, gives them a more concrete understanding of the sequence of events.

Some typical types of sequence of events charts are:

  • Beginning, Middle, End
  • First, Then, Next, Last (or however many transition steps are necessary)
  • 1, 2, 3...

Sequencing is found in all subjects and in many areas of daily living. For example, we see and use it in the following ways:

  • Numerical order
  • Alphabetical order
  • Timelines, both historical and literary
  • Driving directions
  • Recipes
  • Routines

Beginning, Middle, End

The Beginning, Middle, End sequence board is typically a three-step board and is often in storytelling. This could be used for students to retell a story they just read or for them to create their own story using their own words. The three steps help keep the concept basic for younger students. It is also a great method for practicing the sequence of events, allowing them to really learn the idea behind sequencing and why particular things are in a certain order.

If the students are creating their own story:

  • Print out the basic, blank template and allow students to use it as a graphic organizer where they can fill it on their own.
  • Students can also fill in the storyboard with images and/or text themselves using the internet, if available.

If the students are retelling a story:

  1. Print out the basic template or create the cells that you want the students to sequence and then print.
  2. Cut the cells out (or have students do this, if so make sure to place them in random order before printing).
  3. Have students paste or tape them in the correct order on a separate sheet of paper.

Learn more information on retelling Parts of a Story.

First, Then, Next, Last

The First…Last board is extremely versatile and can be used for various types sequencing. This sequencing method is used when there are multiple steps involved. It could be as simple as a story that involves more than three events or explaining a recipe or driving directions, for example. Include sequence words like first, next, then, and so on. These boards are often seen in both a horizontal and vertical format. There is a template for both.

The methods of using this type of board in your classroom would be the same as the Beginning/Middle/End sequencing.

How to Make Your Own Sequencing Boards and Worksheets

Templates are always great, but sometimes as a teacher, we want something a little different! The sequencing boards were created using the traditional layout, but you can choose any of Storyboard That's layouts. You can also bring sequencing offline by creating worksheets for students. Easy to use templates give you the option to scaffold as much as you like!

Sequencing Tips

Since the users of sequencing activities are generally younger students or students with special needs, the simpler picture representations are often more effective. Complicated visuals can often be distracting, so easy to follow visual components enable the student to easily focus on the lesson at hand.

Sequencing is an important, yet simple activity to conduct in the classroom. Incorporating a storyboard can make it more fun for both you and your students, not to mention there are multiple ways to incorporate it!

Find more storyboard activities like these in our Special Education Category!
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