We are approaching the end of the year! For those of you who teach multiple whole-class comprehension-based readers throughout the year, it is a great time to look back and take a class period to review and revisit all of the stories you’ve read together! I love sequencing activities for reading and I recently thought of another novel approach to them in my class! It involves a little healthy competition too–which we know our students love! So gather the comprehension-based readers you’ve read together this year, and let’s get started!
First, you’ll need to write up sentences or chunks of sentences (2-3 at most) from each book. As you write you need to divide them with bullet points. Write as many as you can. For example, if you have read Brandon Brown Hace Trampa, Mata la piñata and 48 horas, you’ll want a large variety of sentences from each of these readers. For books like the Brandon Brown series where there is lots of dialogue, you could use various quotes as your sentences–just make sure you are selecting from a variety of chapters. Once you have a document full of chunks of text, increase the spacing. You’ll want to double or triple spaces in between each chunk so that it is easy for you to cut it into strips. Now, print two copies of the document and cut out the sentences! Definitely use a paper cutter rather than scissors! Make sure you keep the two sets separated. You will have two teams do the same activity in your class so you don’t want the sets to get mixed up!
When your students come to class, physically divide them into two groups. They should each be grouped on two sides of the room. You can allow them to create a team name or you could assign them one! Next, hold up the books they’ll be reviewing. Take the opportunity to do a quick synopsis of the book or have them do it. Reviewing in the target language is a great opportunity to preview the language they’ll be reading. As you talk about each book, put a copy in a different place on each side of the room so that each team has a one. At the end, each team should have a copy of every book and they should be spread out on each side of the room. Next, bring out the strips of paper. I like to hold one group in each hand. Explain to students that each strip has sentences or a quote from one of the books that you read together this year. First, they’ll have to determine which sentence belongs to which book and separate them into piles. After they’ve divided up the sentences and decided where they go, they’ll be responsible for sequencing the sentences for each book. They must put the sentences or events in the order that they happened.
At this point I pause for 30 seconds and allow the teams to strategize so it feels like a game and so that they can get excited. While they’re doing that, I like to mix up the piles just to make sure that all of the quotes/ chunks from the three (or four or five) novels are mixed up really well! Then…. The best part! You throw the sentence strips up high above each half of the room and watch as they flutter down and the competition begins… Students will rush about grabbing sentences, sorting them into different piles. This part can go quickly! I love to narrate as I am watching. I narrate in the target language unless it is a novice class. “Team 1 (hopefully they a have cooler name than that) has almost found all of the sentences that were from Mata la piñata!” “Team two is working really well together and only picking up one sentence at a time so they can sort faster!” (because inevitably you’ll have a student grab a handful and then there are three running around looking for any leftovers on the floor).
In the next phase, students will start sequencing the sentences. If you notice too many students working on one story, suggest that they spread out to maximize time. (You can narrate to make this happen too!) “Team 2 has several people working on each book! They’re getting lots done!” You should absolutely allow students to use the book to help them. In fact, you should bring out more copies! They’ll think that it will help them, when really all it is doing is having them read read and read some more! Do they need it? Not really, but if they think it has to be perfect, they’ll probably ask to use it! Then, they’ll ask you to check their work. You can check as they go, but I always tell them I check AFTER they’ve sequenced all of the sentences. Then, rather than telling them they’re right or wrong, I glance quickly (pretending to read) and tell them a white lie: “there are a few details at the beginning (or middle/end) that are mixed up but I can’t say which!” That way, they’re continually going back and re-reading and trying to guess where they were “wrong.” Remember, being right or wrong here doesn’t matter, what matters is that they’re reading and re-reading over and over again!
There you have it! I hope your students (and you) love this reading extension and review! Who doesn’t love a little competition!? Here is a short video of my 3rd graders doing this. We haven’t read any readers together yet, but we’ve read the scripts from various videos we’ve watched together. So they’re sorting the sentences and then sequencing them in order of what happened.
Happy Teaching y’all!
La Maestra Loca
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