Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Time Is on the Line

Lawrencio Rodriguez


The lesson entails the introduction on how to construct and organize a chronological timeline.


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


-Colored Pencils (seven colors for each group of three students)
-Paper (two sheets for each student) 8 X 11 unlined
-Ruler (one for each student)
-Poster board (one for each group of three students)
-Overhead for classroom discussion
-Erasable markers
-Chalkboard and chalk
-Copy of rubric with dates to be recorded (see associated file)


1. Gather information for lesson.
2. Utilize a blank overhead for classroom discussion.
3. Supply students with chalk for classroom discussion.
4. Display rubric after duplicating it and dates on the overhead.


NOTE: The lesson is targeting the understanding of chronology on a timeline only.

1. Begin by asking: “Has anything ever happen to you that you can remember whether it was a good or bad experience? For example: a family vacation, the first time you were punished by your parents, or breaking your leg or arm? If you can, it is likely you can remember everything about that experience including the year it happened. Now if you wanted to tell your story to a friend, wouldn’t you want to tell them the story in a chronological order? Well, that’s what a timeline does. It tells a story in a chronological fashion so that you know what happened first, second, and so on.”

2. Have the students observe while you write sample dates on an overhead. Use events supplied by the students. Once the data is collected, ask the students for their input on what would be the easiest or most common way of organizing the dates in chronological order. The brainstorming should continue until the timeline concept is addressed.

3. Model how to create a timeline for students. Accomplish this by drawing an empty timeline on the chalkboard and allowing the students to volunteer to come up and place the dates on the timeline in chronological order.

4. Present the objectives for the lesson by relating the timeline just completed to the timeline assignment. Place the rubric and the dates to be recorded on the timeline on an overhead and explain the procedures to the students for clarity and understanding (see associated file).

5. Break up the class in groups of three and allow the groups twenty minutes to complete the assignment. Groups should create their timelines on posterboard. Allow students to sketch appropriate symbols or picture to correspond with the events and dates.

6. After the twenty minute session, bring the students back together and allow the groups to share their timelines to the rest of the class. Allow an additional twenty minutes for presentations.

7. Complete a brief review on the timeline lesson, answer any questions that the students may have.

8. Ask the students to create a life map (timeline) of their lives including key events they remember starting from their birth to the present. Students should include at least 6 events. Students should create this on 8 X 11 unlined paper. Allow students to sketch appropriate symbols or picture to correspond with the events and dates.


Formative assessment is provided through group work with the students’ understanding of chronology assessed (see associated file for rubric criteria) by construction of a timeline with six significant events in chronological order. Although the dates are provided with the lesson plan, these dates may be changed to suit the individual teacher’s needs, curriculum, and/or historical period. Be sure to give feedback critical to the student's individual assignment.

Additional formative assessment will be based upon the individual timeline of the student's personal life that will be assessed with the same criteria in the rubric (see associated file).


1. This lesson can be modified to fit the curriculum and time periods on the individual teacher’s needs.

2. The number of historical events can be modified to extend or shorten the lesson due to time restraints.

3. The group work exercise can be modified to meet any ESOL/ESL or ESE students’ needs, i.e.- buddy system, one-on-one instruction, individual, whole class discussion, etc.

Attached Files

Time Is On The Line Rubric and Time Is On The Line Instructions.     File Extension: pdf

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