Sequencing sounds like it’s an easy concept – just put the events in order, right? Well, what if you aren’t sure what events are the most important events?
Pulling out important events became a lesson in itself! We reviewed main idea (what the story is mainly, mostly about) and discussed how many main ideas a story could have. Can we have a main idea in each chapter? On each page? What about on a graph, table, or photo?
We decided to focus on just the highlighted events of a story. The parts that would change the story completely if they did not occur. And we chose to focus on one at the beginning, two in the middle, and one towards the end.
Easy right? Nope, wrong again!
We struggled to separate the details from the main events. When students mistook a detail for a main idea, I continued to ask if the story or plot would change if Snowflake Bentley hadn’t given his brother a butterfly. Would that change the story? Would that affect the outcome of the story? If the answer is no, then it wasn’t one of the main events. The main idea needs to be in the story in order for the story to make sense.
That seemed to work pretty well!
The first day, we began by reading the story together in class as a whole group. I read the story all the way through to the class with only a little discussion. We read about the life of “Snowflake Bentley”.
The second day, we read the story all the way through, but with lots of discussion. (It’s a pretty long story from our Treasures reader, which is an old reading series).
The third day, we broke into small groups to fill out an organizer with the main events. Lots of discussions – good discussions about details versus main events! I allowed them to struggle a bit at first. They were wanting me to swoop in and tell them the answers. It was good practice watching and listening to them try to defend their main events – something we need to do much, much, MUCH more often!
The fourth day, we met as a whole group again and discussed our organizers using the Smart Board. We settled on four main events, and each student worked on paraphrasing and writing the events in words of their own choosing. We began transferring our main events from the sequencing organizer to our foldables. We made sure to keep checking that the events were in the correct sequence.
The fifth day, we finished the foldables and read them to partners. Students listened to how other students put the events into their own words. We discussed how the transition words helped us move from one event onto the next event.
|Now for the fun part!|
|Cover design from a student in my class – Can you tell it’s Snowflake Bentley?|
|Sorry about the blurriness!|
All in all, this was a MUCH needed activity! Some students really struggled and I feel that I need to spend more time working with my class on these activities.
These foldables are from my newest product at Teachers Pay Teachers – if you are interested! Click the image below to be taken to my store.
In addition to the foldable you saw in use above, another second foldable option is also included. See the picture below for the second option!
How do you teach sequencing and main idea? I’d love to hear from you!