Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Timeline of a Lifetime

Haley Caraway


The student will know what a timeline is, create a timeline with 4 important events of their life, to include 2 national events and 2 world events. The student will then write an essay about their life including the four events.


The student uses a prewriting strategy suitable for the task (for example, brainstorming, using a graphic organizer, listing ideas).

The student understands chronology (for example, knows how to construct and label a timeline of events).


- Pencils
- Notebook paper
- Construction Paper
- Pictures of the events if possible
- Enclyclopedias
- Almanacs
- Internet


1. Prepare a timeline of his/her life including world and national events to use as a model. Create an essay using those events.

2. Have encyclopedias and almanacs available in the classroom.

3. Gather materials from the materials list.


1. Initiate class discussion by asking: What is a timeline? What purpose does it serve?

2. Have students brainstorm what a timeline is and list their thoughts on a sheet of paper.

3.Provide an example of a timeline of your (teacherís) life. Point out personal events and national events. Make sure to point out beginning and ending dates.

4. Allow students to write down about 6-8 important events in their lifetimes. Then they choose the four that are most important. Tell students to bring in pictures tomorrow of those events if possible.

5. Provide time for students to research for national and world events to be included in their timelines. You may need to offer assistance to help them choose events that are compatible with the time of the events of their lives.

6. Students may complete a rough draft of the timeline on the first day. Those who didn't bring pictures can sketch something. As students work, circulate and offer feedback and guidance. Initial each student's timeline when it is correct.

7. On the second and third days have students use construction paper to create final timeline and also paste or tape or quickly draw pictures on timeline.

8. Once the timeline is created, allow time for students to begin working on the rough draft of the essays. Remind students to include all four of the events from the timeline. Students should use one event per paragraph to develop the essay as well as including an introductory and concluding paragraph. Model this using your timeline.

9. Allow time for peer review of the rough drafts.

10. On the 4th day, allow class time for completing the rough draft, sharing in small groups and writing the final essay.

11. Students may present essay and timeline to class when time allows.


1. Assess the timeline to make sure the dates are listed in chronological order. The timeline should have the national and world events.
2. The essay should be in essay format. All four of their major life events should be included in the essay, with a paragraph devoted to each event. There should be an introductory paragraph and a concluding paragraph. Do not assess for conventions, but this essay can be used later for self-correcting editing after students have had lessons in the needed areas for improving their writing.
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