Helping Children to Understand Sequences

It's good for children to know and understand that some things must be done first. Take the story of a child, a parent, and a fish tank.  The picture sequence tells the story of the child and adult with the empty tank, shows them adding water, then adding fish, and finally, shows them sitting to watch the fish swim around.  How do we help children to get the idea of the sequence? It is tempting to show 4 pictures to a small group of children, or one child and ask "What happened first?"  If the child doesn't get the idea, it's tempting to walk the child through all of the steps until the child gets them in 1,2,3,4 order. I suggest if a child doesn't get the sequence idea, just tell the story and have 2 picture cards present.  Tell the story that they started with the empty tank, put the water into it, added the fish and sat down to watch the fish swim.  When the story is told a few times, the child can be asked to pick out the picture that shows the empty tank.  Then the child can be asked to find the picture of the child and parent watching the fish in the tank.  After a few more times, the child can be asked to put the starting picture in one place and the ending picture next to it. Another day, a middle picture can be added, and when the child can do it easily, the fourth picture can be added.  When the child can set up these pictures alone, it helps to verbalize to the child that he/she has learned to put the pictures "in order" from start to end or from beginning to end by which comes first, then next. After the child can do this a few times, another story can be introduced, and the child can be asked to put the pictures in order.  The goal is for the child to place the pictures in order without the adult "telling" the story. Sequencing is a complex skill that can be taught in a way that the child learns to create a plausable story from the pictures.  Many children need to verbalize the story before they can figure out the order of the parts of the story.  This is an important process skill.

One Response to “Helping Children to Understand Sequences”

  1. Keev says:

    If we are talking about old shoocl, kindergarden times then any and all of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books (partially because I alwasy wanted a dog and parents never let me). If we are going by elementary status then Where the Red Fern Grows (again partially because of my love of dogs. If we are talking middle shoocl then the Ender’s Game series, mainly for is philosophical innuendos. Good question. April 01, 2011

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