Sequencing is an important skill for middle school students. It helps them give directions, retell a story or event and organize information. Once they are able to sequence effectively, students become stronger readers and writers.
Reading and Giving Directions
Reading and giving directions is an important sequencing skill. A fun way to help students learn to give directions is to have them write down how to make a peanut butter sandwich. Once students write down their instructions, produce a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, a butter knife and any other dishes or utensils you might need. Choose a few of the directions written by students and make a sandwich according to those directions. (Look for directions that will produce less than desirable results.) Students will enjoy watching you make the sandwiches according to their directions and will quickly learn how important it is to include details in directions, especially recipes.
Middle school students love to share information about themselves and their lives. Have students create time lines about their years up to middle school or time lines about their time in middle school. This will teach students how to organize and order information. Students can illustrate and color their time lines to make them unique. Once students have created time lines about their own lives, they can make time lines in social studies and science.
When writing a short story, students can begin with a storyboard (similar to a comic strip) of their story. They also can retell a story using a storyboard format. Students enjoy creating storyboards because it gives them an opportunity to draw pictures and show some creativity while putting events in order.
For a plot sequence activity, have students pair up, and give each pair a different short story to read. Once the pairs have read their story, they should list five to 10 plot events from the story in order. After they list those events, they should mix them up--keeping a list of them in order for reference--and give their mixed-up events to another pair to try and put them in order.
Many standardized tests asks students to find the missing number in a pattern. In a math class, the teacher can make a game of these problems, dividing students into teams and seeing which team can find the missing number and rules for the pattern first.
Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.