Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Timelines In Elementary


There are so many timelines for elementary! Which ones should you purchase or make????

KEY: Let the children make them! 

Here are the timelines you, the adult, should purchase or make: 
  • Timeline of Life
  • Black Strip (if you count it as a timeline)
  • Hand Timeline
  • 1st Timeline of Human Beings
  • 2nd Timeline of Human Beings
  • Timeline of Civilizations (this is *not* Timeline of Ancient Civilizations - the Timeline of Civilizations covers 5000 BC/BCE through the year 2000 AD/CE)
  • BC/AD Timeline (or BC/BCE) - easily handmade! 
Everything else - is for the children to create as their own work! 


If you have a local educational requirement for learning certain aspects of the local history, then you *might* make a timeline with the key information that the children are required to know - or you might provide them some notecards (each one labeled with the title of the required information) and send them off to do interviews, library visits, archaeological studies, photographs of historical locations, and other sort of hands-on learning ;) They then place these notecards in order, and begin building a timeline using any of a plethora of timeline-making ideas. 

Unfortunately, the alternative, already-finished, timelines you can purchase (math/geometry and language seeming to be the worst, but even music and other areas), can be just comprehensive enough that true, deep interest on the part of the child is totally lost. Sure, they might have some interest in studying a particular era, but the wonder of discovery is lost. And the sorting, classification, deciding what is the most important and what is of serious interest (perhaps an event that is seemingly unimportant but ties in to another area of school or life the child is studying, so it is included by the child in the timeline at hand). 

Leave them hidden golden nuggets, buried in the plain old sand - and give them *just enough* to get them digging on their own. 

For example, the Timeline of Life is not *supposed* to be updated every time a new discovery is made. I even tell the children the story about the dinosaur with the second brain, saying that scientists at one time thought that the dinosaur had a brain in his tail - the children will ask which dinosaur they thought it was. My response: "AH! There is a great research idea! How shall we find out!?" (make sure you have resources in your classroom with this information, or a Going-Out to the library or local natural history museum is available to the children).

Keys to the universe, past, present and future - just the keys..... Let them unlock the doors. You can guide them toward it, with "I wonder what we might learn over here" or "Is there a connection between Louis Braille's blindness and medical practices of the time?"

Just the keys.

Pique their interest.

Get them researching and creating on their own.



(HINT: This means YOU have less work and they have more responsibility! Win-win both directions!). 



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