ESL Sequencing Activities for Middle School

Written by ann wolters
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ESL Sequencing Activities for Middle School
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Sequencing activities help reinforce the use of logical connectors for English as a second language, or ESL, students. They offer ways to review the language of sequencing. Middle school-appropriate sequencing activities can also promote student engagement and active learning while adding variety to a lesson.


Choose a comic strip suitable for middle school students that has few words. Make one copy of the comic strip for every two students. Cut apart the pictures of one set, mix them up and place them in an envelope. Repeat this process with each copy of the comic strip. Give each pair of students an envelope and ask them to put the pictures in order. After they arrange the pictures, instruct them to write down the story using their own words.

You could also prepare a different comic strip for each group, and then groups could sequence more than one story.


A speaker often uses sequencing words such as "first," "then" and "next" when explaining how to do a task. You can give your middle school students practice using sequencing words in their speaking by asking them to give short demonstration speeches. Encourage students to select a topic that other middle school students want to know about and something that's hands-on so all students can follow along by doing the task as a student explains it. Demonstrations such as how to make a paper glider or how to make a bird call with one's hands and mouth could work well.

Strip Story

Choose a story, either one you've already read in class or a new one, with a clear and logical order of events. Before printing the story, separate each sentence onto its own line or lines. Make a copy of the story for each group of three to four students. Cut the sentences apart, shuffle each set and distribute a set to each group. Ask them to put the sentences in order to tell the story. For additional practice, after you check their sequencing, you may collect the strips of paper and ask students to retell the story by writing it down on their own.

Daily Routine

List on the board, in random order, several activities that are a part of the typical daily routine for a middle school student. Include things such as do homework, eat lunch, wake up, eat breakfast, go to bed, arrive at school and go home. Call on one student to describe her typical weekday, creating full sentences, ordering the events listed on the board and including others that come to mind. Then ask another student to begin retelling what the first student said by listing the first event. For example, "Ayan wakes up at 6 o'clock." Call on another student to describe the next thing she does, and continue asking different students to add one more sentence. After this oral activity, ask students to write about their routines on Saturdays or over the summer.

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