Personal Timelines

Writing about yourself is usually easy...once you know how. For some it comes naturally and they can write about themselves until...well, forever. For others though, writing about yourself is a daunting task of...What do I write? Where do I start? But my life is so boring!!!

Yes, heard all the above...and that's not just me!

Part of the current Australian curriculum is the need for students to be able to construct a personal timeline. When I first read that I thought it would be easy...until I had students saying and asking the questions above.

Finding simple, relevant resources to use with junior primary students was not easy. Ok, I'll be honest - I didn't find anything I actually liked. Some were too "babyish" some were only about animals (and thus more of a life-cycle) and I suddenly found myself going "Eek!"

Never one to back down from a challenge I set to work writing a couple of stories. I wrote two (and hope to add more diversity to the pack soon) stories about a girl called Maria and a boy called Alex. They tell about special moments in their life.

I had stories, that's great! But now what? Sorting into a timeline!

Being able to put events in chronological order relies on the students having an understanding of place value and the way a year is written - 2001 did not come before 1999 (I have found many students only look at the last number to begin with *sigh*).  I created two timelines. One sorting pack has all the information including dates in a paragraph. The students who were independent learners got those ones if I needed to work with others on numbers. The other set has the year separate from the events. I really like this set for all learning levels. Put the students in small groups (max. 4) and have them try to match the year with events before you read the story - they must use common sense and clues in the pictures to try and order them. Lots of fantastic class discussion comes from that!

Being time poor to fit in all the curriculum I also added a science angle. In this case a timeline for Marie Curie and Alexander Graham Bell. Both of these sets can be used the same way as above. Very handy also as a lesson for a substitute teacher!

To top it off I wrote an assessment task. I don't use a rubric for this one because basically you either pass or fail it. No middle ground!

If you think it might be handy for your class why not pop over to TPT to grab yourself a copy.

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