Why is understanding sequence of events important? Every story has an order, a sequence of events. If students don’t recognize the sequence of events in a story, they will jumble the events and minimize the importance of the lesson the story shares. The following “Henny Penny” sequencing activities will rely on listening skills, visual images, and clues from signal words. Students will also participate in interactive activities to demonstrate their understanding, as well as have a little fun.
Materials You’ll Need for Teaching This Lesson
character and plot cards
animal sounds cards
sequence signal word cards
sticky notes or chalk
character hats for each student—a 2 inch strip of paper with a character card taped or stapled to the front
Copies of the various cards can be obtained by downloading the media file for use with this article.
Before You Read
Secure a piece of yarn at a level visible for students. Clip the cards in random order using the clothes pins. Give students an opportunity to view the pictures of the characters, an activity which will serve as an anticipation guide, and predict what the story will be about.
Engage Your Students in the Lesson with a Song
Get your students focused on today’s reading activity by modifying a common children’s song. Sing a verse of B-I-N-G-O with your students. After reviewing the rhythm and set up of the song, change the verse and sing along first alone and then with the class.
There was a chicken who would cry
Goodness, the sky is falling!
Her name was Henny Penny!
Just as students had to know the order of the letters in Henny’s name to spell it correctly, they must also pay attention to the sequence of a story. Sequence will help them tell the order of the story.
Activities for Teaching Sequencing
After reading the story, ask students to choose the card of the character who appeared first in the story. Proceed through all the cards in this manner. Modify this activity by placing only Henny Penny’s card on the line. Before proceeding with the story, ask students to predict what will happen next.
What sound did characters make after they appeared in the story? Place the collection of animal noise cards in random order on the same line as the character cards. Prompt students with physical gestures to coincide with each noise. Have students pair the bird with the appropriate noise.
In most stories and articles, the sequence of events is indicated using signal words. Clip the signal cards on the yarn and read them for the class. Examples of signal words include:
Review understanding sequence by clipping the character and plot cards beneath each signal card in the order of the story. Try relocating one part of the story under another signal word. How does this change the story? Reinforce the lesson by adding a sticky note with a number on each card to demonstrate the order.
Have some fun with the story by asking students to volunteer to tell the story backwards. This would make a good teaching opportunity for demonstrating cause and effect. For example, if Henny Penny had never allowed all the other birds to follow her to notify the king that the sky was falling, none of them would have been eaten by Foxy Loxy and his family.
Divide students into groups with six per group. Each student will wear a character hat. As teacher reads the story, the appropriate character will stand, say their line (“May I go with you?”), and form a line around the room with each set of birds following their group’s Henny Penny. As they walk, they should also use their bird’s gestures. Devise a cave by hanging a bed sheet or a piece of butcher paper in a corner of the room so Foxy Loxy has a place to take the birds. Teacher can play the role of king. At the end of the story, students can flip their hats to become baby foxes as they step out of the cave.
Students will demonstrate their understanding of sequence signal words by pretending to be Mrs. Foxy Loxy and creating their own recipe for Henny Penny Pie. They may use the sequence cards or draw their own pictures. Have students recite their recipes for the class and share their illustrations.
By helping students understand the relevance of sequence in storytelling, students will gain an essential reading skill which will guide their concept of beginning and ending as well as all the steps in between in all genres of reading. They will recognize the importance of order and how it adds to meaning, a skill which will help them understand processes in all other subject areas and not just possess knowledge of plot in a fictional story.
Galdone, Paul. Henny Penny. Clarion Books: New York, 1968.
Microsoft Office Word 2007 Clip Art