Foster students'self-expression though journaling. Students use a graphic timeline, brainstorming sessions, and personal goal setting to prompt thoughtful journal entries in this 3-lesson unit plan.
- Develop a written timeline of their lives.
- Analyze important events in sequential order.
- Create a graphic timeline organizer.
- Timeline Organizer (PDF)
- Drawing supplies, glue
- Old magazines, photos, and clippings from home
- Digital camera, scanner, computer, and printer, if possible
- A 6' x 10" strip of paper for each student
- Overhead projector, transparency of the Timeline Organizer
- Paper towel rolls, folders, or other items to store the timelines
Set Up and Prepare
- Cut long strips of paper, or connect sheets of paper to provide long, thin strips approximately 6’ x 10".
- Create your own graphic timeline for modeling. Display it in a visible location.
- Arrange art materials for easy access.
- Make copies of the Timeline Organizer (PDF).
Discuss what is meant by sequential order.
Demonstrate use of the Timeline Organizer by modeling on the overhead projector. Refer to students' completed Who Am I? handout for ideas. (Allow students to add more information, if they want to.) Explain that they may need more than one organizer to complete their timelines. It’s not necessary for them to include dates, as long as their entries are in order.
Give students sufficient time to complete the timeline.
Explain that they are going to make a graphic display of their timeline by choosing illustrations, photographs, drawings, clippings, computer clip art, magazine pictures, etc to represent the information on the graphic organizer.
Model your graphic timeline and discuss why you chose the graphics. Invite students to suggest alternative images. Discuss the use of captions on the timeline to describe events. These should come from the Timeline Organizer. Remind and encourage students to bring materials from home for the timeline.
PART 2 and 3:
Distribute timeline paper.
Allow students to use the computer to locate clip art. If you have access to a digital camera and printer, use these to create photographs. You can copy pictures with a scanner.
Create the graphic timelines, adding captions to describe the events.
Display the completed graphic timelines in the classroom. They provide a big visual impact for an Open House.
Supporting All Learners
- Pair students who struggle with ideas with a partner.
- ESL students can use captions in their first language. It's interesting to other students to relate the language to the illustrations.
Students can preserve their timelines by creating a timeline capsule. Decorated paper towel rolls or folders work well. These can be easily stored in the classroom, and used again at the end of the year for a reflection writing exercise.
Students can take the graphic timelines home and request a family member to add their own memories to the captions. For a successful graphic timeline, students must spend time at home locating illustrations, photographs, etc.
- Develop a timeline graphic organizer putting important life events in sequential order.
- Choose appropriate visual representations of important events on the timeline.
- Assemble a graphic lifeline using photographs, illustrations, clippings, etc.
- Explain events on the timeline with captions.
- Do you think any part of the lesson was unclear?
- What can you do to improve the overall effectiveness of the lesson?
- How would you evaluate student enthusiasm for the project?
Observe students’ work on the Timeline Organizer to check for understanding. Since this is a get-acquainted, pre-writing activity, it's not necessary to award a grade, but you could give participation points.