Sequencing: The Hare and the Tortoise

Grade Levels: K - 2


This lesson is designed to expand the skill of sequencing for primary students, using the text The Hare and the Tortoise. In this lesson, students discuss the sequence of events in the story and retell the story with a partner. This is the final lesson in a set of sequencing lesson plans designed for primary grades. (For the first two lessons, see Sequencing: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Sequencing: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.)

For students to successfully complete this lesson, they should have a good understanding of sequence and be able to put individual events of a story in order. Students should also have had some practice retelling familiar stories. Do a quick assessment by asking three or four students to tell you the story of a book you have read as a class or a familiar tale such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or The Three Little Pigs. Students should be able to write phrases in the graphic organizer and read those phrases while they are retelling the story. If students have difficulty writing, they can be paired with another student who can write to complete the graphic organizer together.


  • The Hare and the Tortoise, which is one of Aesop's fables. There are many text versions. One that you might use is The Hare and the Tortoise retold and illustrated by Helen Ward.

  • A chalkboard, white board, or chart paper to record information from the text.

  • Sequence Chain graphic organizer

  • Blank paper, pencils, and crayons or markers, and paper lunch bags.


  1. Hook/Engagement

    Tell students that they will be putting the events of this story in order and then retelling the story. Model an incorrect retelling of a story. Here's an example.

    Martha told Billy not to worry—she would have done the same thing. Marta started to cry. The end. Then Billy told Martha he was sorry. Billy got angry and shouted at Marta. Once, Marta stepped on Billy's toe by accident. Billy and Marta were best friends.

    Have students tell you which events are not in the correct order and then have them retell the story in the correct sequence, discussing how much the order of events, or sequence, changes the story.

  2. Vocabulary

    • Retell-to tell again

    • Hare-an animal similar to a rabbit, with longer hind legs and ears

    • Tortoise-a kind of turtle that lives on land, not in water

    • Fable-a fictitious story told to enforce a truth or moral

    • Moral-expressing or teaching about good behavior

  3. Measurable Objectives

    Explain to students that after you read the story you will be talking about the sequence of events. Explain that they will use a Sequence Chain graphic organizer to remember the parts of the story and then retell the story to the class.

  4. Focused Instruction

    Before reading the Hare and the Tortoise, discuss the terms hare and tortoise and explain that a hare is similar to a rabbit, and a tortoise is similar to a turtle. Discuss how fast a hare can run and how fast a tortoise can walk, and predict who would win a race between them. Talk about the story as an example of a fable, which is a story that teaches a lesson called a moral. Some versions of this fable will include the moral, "Slow and steady wins the race," while others may not explicitly state this.

    Read the story, having students use a graphic organizer to record events in the story. Show them the graphic organizer, and explain that because there are six boxes in the sequence chain, they will choose one event from the beginning, four events from the middle, and one event from the end of the book and write them all on the graphic organizer. Think aloud while you complete the first box in the graphic organizer and look back at the text to check the events.

    Continue reading and have students think of the events from the middle of the book. List the events and ask students to arrange the ideas into the sequence that they happen in the story. Then, narrow the events to the four most important ones and have students write them in the middle boxes of the graphic organizer. Continue reading to the end of the story and have students complete the last box of the sequence chain on their own. Using the graphic organizer, model a retelling of the first two events in the story. Tell students that they do not need to say exactly what is written down, but that the events need to be in the correct order.

  5. Guided Practice

    Group students and have them practice retelling the story including all the events from the beginning, middle, or end of the story. Tell them that they will make puppets for the hare and the tortoise and retell the story for the class. Circulate through the room as students use the graphic organizer to retell the story, providing feedback as necessary.

  6. Independent Practice

    Provide materials for students to create paper bag puppets and assign students a character they will create. Once they have been made, give students some time to practice using the puppets to retell the story. After additional practice, a few pairs may wish to share their retelling of The Hare and the Tortoise for a different audience such as another class, another teacher, the principal, or other adult in the school. Help students arrange these opportunities and be sure that positive feedback finds its way to the students who perform these retellings. Discuss the performances and ask if anyone remembered afterward an event that they forgot to include in their retelling of the story. Discuss which important parts of the story everyone included in their retellings.

  7. Assessment

    Video or audiotape the performances to assess whether the stories were retold in the proper sequence. Ask students which parts of the story they thought were most important to include.

Reflection and Planning

If students need some support with this lesson, start out by retelling the story yourself as students act out the story with their puppets. As students become more familiar with this, transition to having the students tell the story themselves, as they act it out. Students can also use teacher-created graphic organizers to practice retelling stories to each other. If students need additional support with this lesson, review the skills taught in the previous lessons, using different texts during small group instruction. You may choose to reinforce the ideas in this lesson by choosing another fable for students to retell such as The Lion and the Mouse or The Fox and the Crow.

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