- December 7, 2018 at 5:32 PM #53910
I’ve long believed that names and dates should consume a minimum of our time and energy in history class. Yes, some of this instruction is necessary, but only to the degree that it truly aids understanding of the past. Regarding dates in particular, I consider them important mostly for helping us to understand how events are situated in time relative to each other.
To this end, a few years ago I tried a new idea. I got one of those cheap 70-page spiral-bound notebooks (they’re something like 27¢ each at Walmart) for each student. These are their timeline notebooks, with the beginning date on the first page and each two-page spread covering anywhere from 100–1000 years depending on how densely packed with events the period is. Every week or so (in theory) we spend some time adding dates and events to our timelines.
In past years this practice has sadly fallen by the wayside before long, but this year I’ve done a better job of sticking to it. Now I’m wondering what else we could/should do with these timeline notebooks and the information they contain. Any ideas?
- December 11, 2018 at 11:34 AM #53924
Regarding timeline notebook use…Any visual that can be associated with a dated event boosts the student’s ability to identify and remember. Use of timeline notebooks as Peter suggested can ideally be combined with a classroom wall timeline kept up by having students create and post small illustrations of events studied at the appropriate place. Students can keep their own notebooks up to date by entering freehand replicas of what is posted on the classroom wall.
Another idea for reviewing the order of historical events involves having students make simple illustrations or write names of events on 3×5 cards, with the date written on the back. Cards can be shuffled face up and then lined up chronologically. When finished, they can be checked for accuracy by checking the date on the back.
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