Tips and Tricks to Sequence, Order and Priorities
I know you know a child like this. Has tons of information, loves to tell a story, has friends, plays a sport, loves projects but just can’t seem to get organized. For this article we will call her Sissy.
Sissy loves to write but she never finishes a story unless you push her and then she will write, “and then they all woke up”
Sissy probably needs to practice anything that has to do with sequencing, ordering or prioritizing. This is not necessarily a sign of ADD, but it can be. It is not necessarily a sign that she has a processing disorder, but it can be. I am not a doctor but today I will share with you three ideas to help her make progress in sequencing, ordering and prioritizing.
To practice sequencing especially for stories have her tell you the end, then how it all started. After that she can fill in the middle. I like following the infographic here just to get the bare bones written down. One of the toughest things for our little story tellers is to earn high scores in summarizing as they do not have enough practice sorting minutia out from significant details. If you retell in this order, on the organizer you can download for free, the student can literally cut and paste and rewrite into a second or final draft. This really REALLY helps them not get lost in the exciting but not relevant details.
To help kids of all ages order items I take them out of any kind of list. Put each fact, detail, event, word on a separate movable card or paper. This allows them to compare two items at a time and make choices. Pop over to YouTube for a mini-lesson on how this works. But trust me, ANYONE can order items when only having to focus on two things at a time.
In social studies we created time-line pages and any event from that year went on that page. Then when students needed to recount WWII for academic decathlon the could quickly put the years in order and create a simplified timeline. See the swipe files for an example.
Finally, prioritizing! Many many yes, many children and adults need help with this. I am a great believer in “the agenda”. As a general ed teacher I had weekly agenda for even my third grade students. We wrote in the agenda in the morning as a group. We highlighted the must do activities and listed the can do work available. Every night we would check off our lists, cross off items and move others to the “parking lot” to be discuss the next morning. I believe modeling is the best way to teach prioritizing but definitely asking students to use a calendar to keep track of due dates and set mini deadlines for themselves is a skill that will last a life time. Currently as a special education teacher I often write, “create mini deadlines and check ins as an accommodation teachers need to make for my students but it truly is my hope that all teachers are incorporating this planning style into their classroom. After all we are not just teaching a subject we are teaching success skills for life!
Have a great day and remember we teachers and parents alike are all working to #supportachievement