Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mental Hooks for Hanging a Timeline

I've always liked the idea of using a timeline to help picture where events and people fall in history. Too many items placed on a timeline seem to clutter it and not be very helpful however. Recently someone posted that the timelines PNEU students used were actually small (they could fit on a desk) and very few items were placed on them. It makes sense that having a few significant items on the child's personal timeline would help them see history and give them some hooks on which to hang many other events and people that aren't placed on the timeline. For instance, I have a few people in my head that I always know the general dates for: Laura Ingalls lived in the 1800's, Corrie ten Boom was around WWII, Constantine goes with 313 AD, Jesus' birth c. 0 AD, and King David 1040 BC (I need a few more BC hooks!). These have stuck in my head for different reasons, and when I'm reading history, my brain figures out which one is closest and makes a connection: "The Shang dynasty was ruling in China around the same time Kind David was born!"

You might help your child find his significant points of history to hang a timeline on ~ a person or event that excites or interests him. Let him write the date for his item on his timeline and draw a simple stick figure or drawing (crown, heart, etc) that represents his item. Then as you read history of all kinds (scientific, religious, literary), you can say, "This person lived 100 years before Caesar invaded Britain" or some such connection. He can even find the date on his timeline though he may not put it on there at the moment.

A picture of my 7 year old son's timeline is below. We made it by cutting a poster board in half length-wise and taping the two long pieces together. Then we fold it up accordion-style to put it away. I do wish we'd written on the non-glossy side; it's hard to color or pencil on the glossy side. This is our 3rd try at a timeline and my favorite so far. (We tried a wall timeline and then a lo-ong piece of white paper which was too long to be practical).

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