More on the Star Sequence

Those familiar with the Invisibles Star Sequence may be interested to read how Tina and I introduce it in our new book. It gives an example of what we are trying to share with teachers in the book. This segment is from Chapter 6:

This sequence of five types of activities undergirds all the sessions in this yearlong plan. It brings everything in this book together in as easy-to-remember image. It provides, in a general way, spoken input followed by written input, to develop students’ listening and literacy skills. Specifically, we (a) create with our students using mostly spoken language, then we use spoken language to (b) review what we created together, and then we (c) write a text based on our creation. We then (d) read this text and engage in discussions and other activities based on the text. Finally, we might choose to move on to (e) extend the input on this particular topic through extension activities such as review games, producing comic books for the class library, or dictées (explained later in the instructional sessions).

The star sequence is foundational in comprehension-based instruction. Below, we provide some examples of possible iterations of the sequence. Example One below is from the beginning of the year. Example Two is from the middle of the year, and Example Three is from late in the year. You can see that the choice of activities changes and expands but the same basic sequence (Create, Review, Write, Read, and Extend) forms the trajectory of each sequence of activities.

Making our way around the star might take two to four, or even five days, or up to two block periods, depending on how engaging your class finds the information, character, story, or discussion that is created in the “Create” segment of the sequence.

We never want to turn the pleasant trip around the star into a forced march of activities that do not feel engaging and fun. If the class is disengaged by a certain story or discussion, we simply move on to another “Create” segment, perhaps with a different activity (i.e. instead of Small Talk we might do a One Word Image), to hit the reset button and start another cycle around the star.

Example One: Possible Beginning the Year Sequence:

Create: Small Talk, discussing the calendar and weather, and Card Talk, discussing two students’ cards on which they have sketched something they like
Review: The Mysterious Person activity, using information from the Small Talk and Card Tak discussions
Write: Write and Discuss, asking the class to contribute details about the discussion to create a simple text together
Read: Reading Option One – Choral Translation and Reading Option Two – Discussion of the Grammar
Extend: No extension activity as it is early in the year

Example Two: Possible Mid-Year Sequence:

Create: Make a story with an Invisibles character (either created by the class as a One Word Image or one that was individually-drawn by a student)
Review: Retell the story and film a “video retell” at the end of the story creation process, and then the next day, reveal the artists’ work, and retell the story using the pictures as visual aids.
Write: Project a text that you wrote up in your prep time and loaded into Textivate.
Read: Reading Options one through four, then work with Textivate for another day.
Extend: Have students illustrate a comic book template, and use sentences from the story in the Word Chunk Team Game at the end of the week.

Example Three: Possible Later in the Year Sequence:

Create: Interview a student on the Special Chair.
Review: Give a Quick Quiz using the Kid Quiz Book at the end of the period, and then the next day use the artists’ drawing of the student as a visual aid to retell the facts about the student.
Write: Write and Discuss with the class in the Book of the Class, typing a paragraph or two about the student for the Book of the Class, the class’s “yearbook”.
Read: Reading Options one and two
Extend: Dictée



10 thoughts on “More on the Star Sequence”

  1. This is phenomenal work. I can picture a timeline or cyclical graphic with the options listed at the create, review, write, read extend nodes. I’ll play around with it.

  2. That would help us bc it is on a busy “wrap this book up” week coming up. I am hassling Tina about how that sequence is presented in the book. I remember the minute I thought of that image in Ann Arbor this summer and I knew we had found the bulls eye. It infuses, illustrated and defends 30 instructional sessions in four cycles throughout one academic year.

  3. Amazingly intuitive and allows newbies with the deer in headlights stance to chill out.

    So the star itself is a fab graphic, but I’m thinking a baseball diamond might be great for this concept, since it has order (1st, 2nd, 3rd, Home) and directionality, plus it has 4 nodes – 1 each for: Create; Review; Write; Read. Whaddaya think?

  4. Tina and I are close to deciding since we have a deadline in a few days. Tina pointed out that it has five aspects not four like in baseball but we are open. It’s a big deal bc that star is the guts of the entire NT thing.

  5. Alisa Sapiro-Rosenberg

    Ok that’s what I was confused abt. I though the star was for NT and this ordered cycle is for any kind of CI. If you wanna use a baseball diamond (I am not into sports or b’ball so I’m not married to it) then extend could be part of ‘Read.’
    I just think that an ordered sequence is easier conceptually for new Ts…

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