Monday, March 5, 2012

Instructional Focus - Sequencing

We do something called Instructional Focus each day at our school. I'm sure a lot of schools/districts do this, as my old district did this also. Anyway, I absolutely LOVE Instructional Focus, and I really think it's a super beneficial part of our school day. Each day, we start our day with IF. We are lucky enough at my school to have IF partners, as this is a school wide program. The specialists, classified staff, and other non-classroom teachers are pushed in to partner classrooms. The whole school is involved and engaged, and that sets a great precedence for learning. We love it because we get to focus on skills that are weaker, the specialists/partners love it because they get to see what we're working on in the classrooms (and some can carry it over and integrate it into other areas), and the kids love it because they get to work on engaging and relevant activities first thing in the morning. 

Each week we alternate between a math or a reading goal, and we set a Smart Goal for each week during PLC time (professional learning communities). Because we have partner teachers come in, my previous coworker and I started our current format for IF, and my current coworker and I are continuing to follow it. Basically, our push-in partner teachers are the library and PE teacher. So, my coworker and I split up the students based on flexible grouping (based on pre/post test data), and we have an "enrichment" and a "tutorial" group. The students may move between groups at any time due to data, anecdotal records, or informal observation. The library and PE teacher take the enrichment group and extend the lessons to meet the students' needs. My coworker and I take the tutorial group to go deeper and more intense with whatever skill/indicator we are working on. We provide all lesson plans/materials/explanations to our helper teachers for the enrichment group, and even though it is a lot of work, it is 100% completely worth it. Our helpers are amazing, and it gives us a chance to really focus and zone in on the kiddos that need extra help.

Anyway, our skill last week was sequencing. Last week I planned the tutorial group, and my coworker planned the enrichment group plans for IF. She focused on beginning, middle, and end flow maps and sequencing within stories. I focused on first what sequencing was, and then easing into sequencing within stories. First, in the tutorial group, we made an anchor chart that explained what sequencing was and when students would see it.
 Then, we started the week we just practicing sequencing in the context of technical writing (connecting to our snowman writing). We had the students write the steps for making toast, something even my ELL students could connect to, and then the students were able to make an example.
 Next, we took it a step further and started talking about sequencing in context of reading stories. I read the story Duck on a Bike, and we gave each student a card that had the story event already listed (the students drew a quick pic to match the event). When I read the story a 2nd time, the students listened carefully for their event, and the placed it in order up on the ledge. We then taped the events down in order.

On Wednesday, the Tutorial group got to read the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar and sequence the events on their own on sentence strips (I didn't have a chance to take pictures the rest of the week). Then, on Thursday, we read The Three Silly Girls Grubb, and the students filled out sequencing flow charts all together. And last, on Friday, we read short story called The Toss. I copied pictures of the story events, and the kiddos had to sequence the pictures and orally retell the story to their partner. Then, they 4 squared the events using time order words (literally take a piece of copy paper, fold it into fourths, and the students write 1 sentence per box using time order words, then they draw a picture). I wish I'd taken a pic of the 4 square, because they turned out pretty well! I was impressed with how well the students did with sequencing, and of course, we will continue to work on the skill in both shared reading and guided reading (and read aloud). Both the tutorial and the enrichment groups did well with this skill, and it was a very highly productive week for us! :-) Pin It


  1. I love the idea of Instructional Focus! Thanks for sharing!

    Oh My Little Classity Class

    1. It's such a great way to get the day started, and it gives the students purpose! And we get to hit our "trouble spots" again for the tutorial while extending our enrichment. :-)


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