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Story Sequencing Through Image Work

Context for this Lesson


TOPIC: Story sequencing

GRADE: 1st


  • How do we use context clues to sequence events and retell a story in order?



§110.12. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 1

(B) Knowledge and skills.

  • (4) Reading/Beginning Reading/Strategies. Students comprehend a variety of texts drawing on useful strategies as needed. Students are expected to: (A) confirm predictions about what will happen next in text by "reading the part that tells";
    • (B) ask relevant questions, seek clarification, and locate facts and details about stories and other texts; and
    • (C) establish purpose for reading selected texts and monitor comprehension, making corrections and adjustments when that understanding breaks down (e.g., identifying clues, using background knowledge, generating questions, re-reading a portion aloud).
  • (9) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Fiction. Students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of fiction and provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:
    • (A) describe the plot (problem and solution) and retell a story's beginning, middle, and end with attention to the sequence of events; and
    • (B) describe characters in a story and the reasons for their actions and feelings.

§117.7. Theatre, Grade 1.

(B) Knowledge and skills

  • (2) Creative expression/performance. The student interprets characters, using the voice and body expressively, and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:
    • (A) demonstrate safe use of movement and voice;
    • (B) assume roles through imitation


  • Book of your choice!
  • Camera or iPad
  • Projector


As you read the story, pause during dynamic scenes to have students make images (from their seats) of character actions and feelings throughout the story.



"In a moment, we are going to become actors and explore the characters and some of the events from our story. To do that, we are going to make images, or pictures. Instead of drawing images, we are going to create them with our whole bodies. First, take a look around from where you are sitting and look at all the different shapes people are making with their bodies just from where they are. When I say, ‘1, 2, 3, freeze,’ I want to see you freeze your body in a new shape from where you are on this low level. Let’s try it: one, two, three, freeze! Great shapes. Relax. Good. Let’s all stand up where you are and bend your knees. We were just on the low level, and now we are on the middle level. Can you make a new shape with your body on the middle level? Let’s see them: one, two, three, freeze! Great. Now everyone stand up straight. We are on the high level now. Let’s make a frozen shape here too. One, two, three, freeze! Good job, everyone." 

Have students make sure they are in a “self space” (where they are not touching anything or anyone else) standing somewhere on the carpet. "Who can think of a word to describe how the main character in our story felt at the beginning of the story?" Take a couple suggestions. "When I count down and say freeze, I want to see each person make a frozen statue of this character with how they are feeling. Ready? One, two, three, freeze!" As you observe the statues, name the kinds of faces and body positions you see. And relax. Repeat these individual statues for the middle of the story and the end of the story.


"You did a great job making statues on your own. Next, we are going to make some frozen pictures together. Let’s all find a seat on this side of the carpet, facing this open space." (Setting up actor/audience space.)


"We are going to create an image of something that happened in the beginning of our story. This image is going to be called, “First.” What is important to remember about the beginning of our story?" Take suggestions from students and ask for volunteers to shape their bodies into some of the ideas as they name characters, actions and setting details. Use 5-8 students to build this image. Take a photo of this image to process with the others.

Repeat this process to create the remaining two images for “Next” and “At last.”

Questions you might use in side-coaching to support students as they create the image:

  • What is an important event in the middle (or end) of the story?
  • Who are the characters in this event? What are they doing?
  • Where does this event happen?
  • How can we show that with our bodies?

Have each group share their image with the other group. Take a photo of each image as it is shared to process in sequence.


Put photos of the tableaux on the overhead projector, so everyone can see the photos. Use the following questions to process each image:

  • What do you see in this image?
  • Which characters could these actors be playing?
  • What happens right after this image in the story?



  • What did we do to explore our story today?


  • What were some big changes you remember from our story with the characters, how they felt and what was happening?


  • How did making images with our bodies help us with remembering what came first, next and last in our story?