Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Sentence Sequence

Kevin Hall


Students write a paragraph with detail sentences in chronological sequence using the signal words: first, next, then, after, and finally.


The student reads text and determines the main idea or essential message, identifies relevant supporting details and facts, and arranges events in chronological order.

The student creates expository responses in which ideas and details follow an organizational pattern and are relevant to the purpose.


-Internet-connected computer(s)
-Assorted construction paper
-Lined paper
-Student Web Lesson, Sequence of Events (See Weblinks)
-Paper and pencil


1. Gather materials.
2. Check the Internet station to verify connectivity.


Allow students to complete the Student Web Lesson, Sequence of Events, during their computer time. The Web lesson practices arranging information sequentially using the following signal words: first,next, then, after, and finally. It also includes an offline activity where students “build” a sandwich out of construction paper and then write a sequential paragraph explaining how to make the sandwich. (See DAY 1)

DAY 1:
1. After students have rotated through the Web lesson, complete the following sandwich construction activity and sequential paragraph.

2.Prepare materials and present the following directions:
a. First, draw and cut out the bread or rolls you like best.
b. Next, draw and cut out the things you like to put on your sandwich (example: turkey, lettuce, tomato).
c. Then, use white or yellow paper for mayonnaise or mustard.
d. After that, assemble your sandwich using the construction paper pieces.
e. Finally, use signal words to explain in a paragraph how to make your sandwich.
Remember: Your paragraph must include a main idea and supporting detail sentences.
f. Practice assembling your sandwich using the directions you have written. Make necessary changes before turning in your paragraphs and sandwich pieces.

DAY 2:
1. After students have made their “sandwiches” and written their paragraphs, use the following sequencing activity to gain their attention.

2. Pass back to students the paragraphs they wrote, and have them swap with a partner their paragraphs and sandwich pieces. (Be sure to have students mix up their sandwich pieces before passing them to their partner.)

3. Partners read the paragraph and assemble the sandwich using the construction paper pieces provided.

4. Discuss the sandwich-making activity. Have students tell how the signal words guided their construction. Invite students to share sentences that were clear and easy to follow. As a class, brainstorm suggestions for using signal words successfully in a paragraph. (These “tips” can be listed on the board or chart paper for future reference.)

5. Write the following signal words and sentences on the board.
*First, Next, Then, After, Finally
-It is not hard to catch a fish if you know how.
-Wait for a fish to bite the bait.
-Put bait on your hook.
-You feel the fish tugging on your line, reel the fish in.
-Lower your hook into the water.
-Show off your catch.

6. As additional practice, have students use the signal words to arrange the sentences into a paragraph. Remind them the paragraph should include a main idea as well as supporting details arranged in order.

7. When the students have completed their paragraphs, invite them to read their paragraphs to the class. Select students to come to the board and number the sentences in the correct sequence. List any additional “tips” for using signal words successfully in a paragraph.


Students use signal words (first, next, then, after, finally) to write a paragraph explaining how to do something. Brainstorm with the students possible ideas. Here are a few to get them started:

1. How to wash a dog.
2. How to make a snowman.
3. How to skip a rock on water.

Assess students' paragraphs to see that they:
a. develop supporting ideas by presenting facts and information that relate to the focus,
b. create a logical organizational pattern, and
c. use appropriate transitions (i.e., signal words) to relate ideas.

Next, have the students write and cut out the individual sentences of their paragraph on another sheet of paper. (If running short on time, prepare a teacher-generated copy of a mixed-up paragraph for students to arrange.) Sentence strips are swapped with a partner, read, and arranged in chronological order. The final paragraph is taped together or rewritten by the students. The main idea should be underlined, and supporting details arranged logically.

Assess final paragraphs to see if they were able to:
a. determine the main idea,
b. identify supporting details, and
c. arrange events in chronological order.

Web Links

Students arrange events in chronological order.
Student Online Lesson "Sequence of Events"

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