Narratives may use different sequencing techniques to make the story more interesting. Some common sequencing techniques include:
- Flashbacks fill in details that took place in the past.
- Foreshadowing includes hints as to what is to take place in the future.
- Students can remember sequence by noting chronological order clue words such as first, next, after, and so on.
Another type of sequencing that appears in nonfiction text is logical order. This uses headings, subheadings, and other text features to guide students through the material.
Activity #1 ~ Sequencing Organizer
These foldable graphic organizers give definitions to four types of sequencing:
- chronological order
- logical order
Three versions of the organizer are offered: one with blanks where students write definitions; one with the definitions provided but with blank spaces for students to write in keywords; and one with the answers provided. The third copy of the organizer may be used as an answer key, for differentiated instruction, for students who were absent during instruction, or if you wish for the students to have cards already completed.
Activity #2 ~ Paragraph Sequencing Picture Story
Have students use the four picture cards to write paragraphs for each of the following fictional sequences: flashback, foreshadowing, and chronological order. Look a the samples below.
As Matt was riding his bike home from school, he was thinking about the weekend. He thought about going rock climbing. Then he remembered what happened the last time he went climbing. Matt enjoyed the long strenuous climb up the side of the mountain. He was looking forward to reaching the top and just stretching out on his back to rest; however, when he looked over the topmost rock, he had spotted a grizzly bear ~ a humongous grizzly bear. Instead of the nice rest, Matt had looked forward to, he scrambled back down the rock face and hightailed it home.
Matt was quite an outdoorsman. Every weekend he went on one adventure. Today he was riding his bike home from school and thinking about the rock climbing trip he planned for tomorrow. Matt would really be shocked if he only knew what was in store for him on this trip.
Matt had his Saturday all planned out. First, he rode his bike over to Grandfather Mountain. Once there he went rock climbing for a couple of hours. Next, he visited the animal habitats where he could observe the cougars, white-tailed deer, black bears, bald eagles, and river otters in their natural settings. Matt had a terrific day at Grandfather Mountain.
Activity #3 ~ Practice
Watch this short animated short. Then answer the sequencing questions.
The film Lucky is quite short with not too many events taking place. Have students watch the film and use these questions for discussion. Most of the questions ask for the same information but in different formats. The purpose of this activity is to show students a number of ways they may be asked to sequence events.
- The first thing that happened in the film was ____________.
- The bill lands in the boy’s backpack as he climbs onto the bus.
- A $1000.00 bill lands in a nearby bush.
- A bus pulls up to a bus stop, and a man gets off.
- The young boy gets up to board a bus.
2. Read the following description of the film.
A man looks at his watch and decides he must sit down and wait for his bus to arrive. As he waits a large bill floats by. The man tries to get the bill which lands on the opposite side of the fence from the bus stop. Not only is the bill just beyond the man’s reach, but his arm gets stuck between the pickets in the fence.
Which sequencing technique is used in this passage?
- chronology order (time order)
- logical order (steps in a process)
In the next two questions, notice two different ways students might be asked to number events in the correct sequence.
3. Number the following events in order.
______ A young boy joins the man on the bench.
______ When the man slyly goes over grab the bill, it floats just beyond his reach and lands on the other side of a fence.
______ The man sits down on the bus stop bench.
______ A $1000.00 bill floats by and catches the man’s attention.
4. Which sequence best describes the order of events in the film?
1) The man struggles to pull his arm free from the fence.
2) A $1000.00 bill floats by and catches the man’s attention.
3) The man reaches between the posts of the fence to snatch the bill, but his arm is not long enough.
4) A man gets off the bus and looks at this watch. The time is 7:28.
- 3, 1, 2, 4
- 3, 2, 1, 4
- 4, 2, 3, 1
- 4, 2, 1, 3
5. The last event that took place in the film was —-.
- The young boy gets up to board a bus.
- When the man slyly goes over grab the bill, it floats just beyond his reach and lands on the other side of a fence.
- The bill lands in a nearby bush.
- The man struggles to pull his arm free from the fence.
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