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Creating a Timeline
A fun project is to have students create a timeline of their life that includes significant events from the past, present, and future. Have students sit in groups so they may brainstorm ideas for this project together. Provide construction paper or poster board and magic markers for students to create the timeline. Students may also choose to create the timeline online. Websites that provide information about creating an online timeline include:www.OurTimeLines.com, and www.TimeToast.com. Students may also do a Google search to find other sites that provide information about creating a timeline.
Tell students to create a timeline by showing 10 significant events from their past, 10 events from their present life, and predict 10 events for their future. This activity builds decision-making skills as it requires students to think back through their past life and pick the 10 events that are most significant to them. The events are their choice, they do not have to explain why they picked all of the events, just provide a descriptive reason for choosing two of the events each for past, present, and future.
Students get quite energized while discussing the events they are considering using on the timeline with their group members. Students who are a bit slow to make decisions are given a chance to see how other students move more rapidly through the decision-making process. This may help some students learn how to manage timed writing assignments more easily.Watching peers master a task helps other students build confidence too.
This project also builds descriptive writing skills. It helps students learn to focus on including details in their writing. In order to explain why they chose a specific event to list on the timeline they must refer to details of the event and explain why those details are significant.
Creating a timeline also gets students thinking about their future and the steps they will have to take to achieve their goals. Anything that gets the minds of high school students off all the gossip in the school and onto thinking about their career and life goals is a project that will help students achieve and believe in their dreams.
Some students find it hard to project into the future and imagine what their life will be like then. Thus writing the timeline helps them really start to think about what they want for the future. That is a fabulous mindset to build. For students who are just drifting through high school without specific goals for the future, creating a timeline may be an eye-opening experience that will stimulate them to ponder the future and their place in this world as they turn into adults.
To assess student work on the timelines, circulate the room as they are working and give them a grade for participation. Then collect the timelines then next day and assign a grade based on adherence to the instructions provided for the assignment and their writing skills.