15 Great Sequencing Activities

The ability to sequence is an essential skill because it demonstrates that someone is able to reason logically. 

That’s why it’s important for teachers to expose students to a variety of sequencing activities that will help them develop their logical reasoning skills which in turn will strengthen their reading comprehension skills. 

One of the best ways to begin incorporating sequencing activities in the classroom is to start with personal experiences. 

Why? 

Because students naturally have a connection to their own lives so it’s easier for them to make sense of what is logical and what is not logical in their own world. 

As students’ sequencing skills improve, they explore a greater range of sequencing activities. 

Here you will find a collection of engaging, hands-on, sequencing activities that boost reading comprehension and activate critical thinking. 

So include some of these activities for sequencing in your reader’s workshop lesson plans this week. 

Sequencing Activities

1. Make a Timeline.

One of the best beginning sequencing activities is to have students make a timeline of their lives. This autobiographical task is very engaging because it focuses on oneself.

For this activity, students create a flipbook or record their timeline events on an appropriate graphic organizer. 

They’ll sketch, label, and caption each phase. 

Later, you could have students complete a biographical timeline of a relative or significant person in history. 

2. Document a Life Cycle.

Have students read a book about any type of life cycle. 

Afterward, they create an accordion-style Foldable (page 36), sketch each step of the life cycle within the Foldable, and then caption each stage.

3. Create a How-To Book.

Students make an instructional manual about something that they know how to do well.

Examples include…

  • how to use the writing process
  • how to make a bed
  • how to make a sandwich
  • how to solve a math word problem
  • how to conduct a science experiment

Take a look at these how-to topics in order to help students brainstorm ideas.

4. Play One Phrase at a Time Game.

For this game, students and the teacher seat in a circle. The teacher begins the game by orally starting a story with a phrase.

The student to her right then adds a phrase that logically connects to the first phrase. (There is no need for each person to repeat previous phrases.)

The game continues as such until every student has added a phrase. 

The aim is for students to think critically about a phrase that could logically come next in the sequence. 

Students will immediately hear any phrases that don’t fit or make sense, and that’s where the magic happens.

Phrases that don’t make sense prompt a discussion about why they don’t fit and what could logically be said instead. 

5. Analyze a Yearly Calendar.

Take a stack of 10 to 15 notecards, and write a different school event on each. Try to include events from different months and/or seasons. 

Then as a class, students analyze in which month each event falls and why. The why part is critical because it prompts students to think about context.

For example, Back-to-School night is usually held in August or September. Students discuss why an event like Back-to-School Night makes the most sense during this particular time of the year.

Why not have it at the end of the school year? Or in December?

The discussion component is key. 

6. Complete a Recipe.

For this activity, provide students with just two things: 

  • title of a recipe 
  • one of its steps

Then ask the class, “What step happened before this one?”, “What step happened after it?”, and “How do you know?” 

The discussion component is key.

After students provide a before and after step, continue asking what step happened before and after each step until the recipe is complete. 

7. Mix and Sequence a Daily Schedule.

For this whole group activity, students practice sequencing everyday activities using transition, or signal, words.

First, write each activity from the classroom’s daily schedule on a sentence strip. Then mix them, and have students sequence the events on a pocket chart. 

Provide students with a bank of transition words (written on notecards), and ask them to logically add one transition word to each activity on the schedule.

Discuss why certain transition words fit better in the beginning or end of a sequence plus talk about the importance of signal words when reading for comprehension. 

8. Ask Prediction Questions.

Consider utilizing picture sequencing activities such as this one; it’s great for visual learners.

Show students an image (a print-out or Google image) with some type of action taking place. 

Then ask, “What do you think happened before this scene?”, “What do you predict will happen next?”, “Why do you think this?”

Again, the discussion component is key because you want to observe how well students are able to reason logically.

Aim to analyze a few different images.

9. Follow A Guide. 

For this fun sequencing activity, students construct something by following instructions.

Put students into groups of 4 or 5, and give each group a set of instructions (e.g. to a board game, Lego structure, science experiment, etc.) 

Students will then follow the guide in order to complete the task.

10. Participate In the Robot Game.

Students pretend that the teacher is a robot who needs programming.

They must create a manual with accurate, detailed instructions that the robot teacher must follow as she attempts to do different things. 

Manual ideas include…

  • making a paper airplane
  • how to study
  • how to play a particular game
  • how to make a paper snowflake
  • how to make a bowl of cereal
  • how to build a sandcastle
  • how to download an app 

11. Give Directions.

For this sequencing activity, students work in pairs. 

They must give clear directions to their partner about how to go from one place in the school to another.

12. Sort Scenes.

Using notecards or sticky notes, students jot down plus sketch the main events or scenes from a book, video, or movie. 

Then with a partner, students exchange their note cards. The partner sequences the events.

Together they discuss why the events should be sequenced a particular way.

13. Write a Comic About Your Day.

Have students divide a piece of paper into six squares. They will then write a comic strip that retells an event of their day.  

The timeframe of the comic strip may take place during any part of the day.

The objective is that the comic strip scenes are sequenced in a logical way that makes sense to the reader.

14. Work on Sequencing Worksheets.

If you’re looking for simple sequencing activities, try sequencing reading passages.

Sequencing worksheets serve well as warm-ups, morning work, bell work, or homework.

What’s great about sequencing worksheets is that they teach sequencing within a variety of contexts.

Check out these sequencing worksheets.

15. Collaborate With Think-Pass-Write Activity.

For this fun activity, put students into groups of four. Each student in the group takes a sheet of paper and writes her name on it. 

The teacher orally provides a topic, one that lends itself to sequencing such as how to make or do something. 

At the teacher’s signal, each student writes about the topic for about 1 to 2 minutes. At the stop signal, students rotate their papers clockwise.

The next student then adds to the previous student’s writing piece for 1 to 2 minutes, providing a logical continuation.

This process follows as such until every student has written on all four papers. 

At the conclusion, students read their papers to the group, listening for logical reasoning.

If part of a story doesn’t flow, they discuss how it could be fixed to make it more logical.

Final Thoughts

When students are able to arrange events from the beginning, middle, and end, their understanding of what they read strengthens. 

That’s why it’s important to develop students’ logical reasoning and reading comprehension skills using these engaging sequencing activities.