Sequence of Events: Ascending the Three Story Intellect
by Chase Young

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Ascending to the third story of intellect is a deliberate process requiring a precise ascension of understanding and questioning. The third level may utilize more intellect; however each level is necessary and equally important in instruction (Costa & Kallick, 2000).

The theme for the week is sequence of events. Use Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray. Begin the questioning as necessary before, after, and during the reading.

The first story (or level) question requires the students to recall information. “What do we know about sequence of events?” This question is democratically presented in a way that implies that every student will know some of the information as apposed to using “Who can tell me…” which implies that only certain students are aware of the correct answer (Costa & Kallick, 2000).  The next first story question is also eliciting input: “What was the problem and the solution in the story.” Take multiple answers to reinforce the idea that there are always many answers to questions during reading (Laureate Education, 1996).

The second level questions should engage the process of the learning, and require students to use the facts collected from the initial stage of question to further analyze the story. Give students ample opportunity to brainstorm answers. Proper wait time may be close to thirty seconds. After the wait time, allow each student to share their responses with a partner; this gives each learner an opportunity to share their ideas whether or not they one of the few called on (Laureate Education, 1996). “What was the sequence of events in the story?” This week’s topic is already a second level inquiry as sequencing is more of a process than an input.  The following prompt will also require students to use the facts and begin to process the data collected previously: “Compare and contrast how the parents felt about Walter at the beginning of the story, and at the end of the story.” Once again, use proper wait time (Costa & Kallick, 2000).

Finally, the third story of questioning requires the student to speculate and imagine. Questions may begin with predict, evaluate, speculate, imagine, or hypothesize. If/Then statements are also common at this level of thinking and questioning. At this stage students are outputting their processed information (Costa & Kallick, 2000). “What might have happened to Walter if he had not captured the burglars?” The last question engages affective networks (Silver & Strong, 2001), and requires students to imagine other possibilities. “Imagine if you had a smelly dog, how would you have dealt with his problem?” It also helps bring the reader into the story while making personal connections.

As teachers begin to openly generate each of the three levels of questioning, students should be encouraged to engage in them as well. Purposeful question, including students in the process, and using the three story vocabulary is an important foundation for students to begin to generate and analyze higher level questions themselves.


Costa, A. L., & Kallick, B. (Eds.). (2000). Activating & engaging habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (1996). Helping students become self-directed learners. [Video recording]. Los Angeles: Author.

Silver, H. F., Strong, R. W., & Perini, M. J. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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