Lesson Plan

Hey Language Arts teachers, timelines are for you, too.

Use timelines from Hstry to help students build deep understanding in reading
James D.
Educator/Curriculum Developer
IdeaDriven Education
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies, English Language Learning
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • write clear, concise summaries
  • recognize main ideas and key details
  • use symbolic/abstract thinking to represent ideas
  • analyze elements of theme and character motivation
  • make connection between books and/or books and personal experience
Subjects
English Language Arts
Grades 6 - 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 How can you tell the history of this book?

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1.  Introduce a timeline from Hstry to students, showing them the ability to add text, images, and links.  Most timelines on Hstry are actually focused on history (no surprise there), so you might want to create a sample one based on a book yourself.  It's not necessary, but it can be helpful.

2.  Point out the nature of captions - concise, clear, focus o on central ideas.

3.  Tell students that they will be doing a timeline about their book (either independent reading, book club, class novel study - any book that you would have students do a project for).

4.  Give them guidelines/minimums for their timeline and any assessment rubric you might have.

5.  My suggested guidelines:

  • 12 or more stops on the timeline (with a max of 24)
  • self-created images for at least 12 of them (photos, drawings, collages)
  • 1-2 links to some connection between the book and personal experience (blog post, other project) or real world events (news stories, videos, etc.)
  • a focus - For focus, I usually give students the choice of:  showing evidence of theme; showing how a character changes or how we come to understand a character; key elements of the central conflict; or some other topic from the student (but checked with me first).
Student Instructions

1.  You will create a timeline for your book that reflects one of the following elements of the book.

Options: showing evidence of theme; showing how a character changes or how we come to understand a character; key elements of the central conflict; or some other topic from the student (but checked with me first).

2.  You need to decide on your focus for the timeline in two days.  By that time, you will have an idea of what the book is about.

3.  Each day in class, I will give you about 10 minutes to make notes on your timeline.  You can add things you think are important, and you might have a lot of them.  You can change them as you go, but remember that you must have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 24. 

4.  Every third day in class, you will have about 30 minutes to really work on your timeline.  During this time, you need to make sure your timeline 'stops' are well written and reflect the requirements for the assignment (see below). 

12 or more stops on the timeline (with a max of 24)
self-created images for at least 12 of them (photos, drawings, collages)
1-2 links to some connection between the book and personal experience (blog post, other project) or real world events (news stories, videos, etc.)

5.  You need to take photos/create images at home. You will not have class time to create the images for the timeline, but you can use class time to add them to the timeline.

2 Representing ideas with images

Activity: Creating

Students are usually very accustomed to finding images by typing in exactly what they are looking for even when what they are looking for is a concept or idea.  For example, many students if asked to represent friendship through an image would simply do a Google search for 'friendship' and take what the search engine provides (instead of searching for, say, holding hands or children playing).  

This part of the lesson is intended to have students engage in representational or abstract thinking. 

1.  Show students a series of pre-selected images.  They can be things you found online or images you created yourself.  

2.  Ask students in pairs or small groups to discuss what the images represent, including WHY they think their interpretation is correct.

3.  Share in a short whole class discussion.

4.  Give students a few (3-5) ideas or concepts, and ask them to think of images/photos they could create to REPRESENT those ideas.  Have them discuss in pairs/small groups.  Examples: anger, suffering, wealth, loneliness.

5.  Share in the whole group.

6.  Give students 10 minutes to make a list of ideas or concepts from their book and to quickly brainstorm photo ideas. 

Student Instructions

1.  Look at the photos on the board.  With a partner, discuss what the image could represent.  When discussing, make sure you include WHY you think your interpretation is correct.

2.  Now take these ideas on the board  and, with your partner, discuss what you could take a photo of to represent them.

3.  Now on your own, make a list of 2-4 ideas or concepts from your book.  Next to each one, write down 2-4 ideas for photos you could take to represent that idea.

3 The process

Activity: Conversing

During the 30 minute work sessions in class, meet with individual students to discuss their timelines. 

Focus on:

  • What they are including/excluding and why
  • The different ideas for focus (theme, character changes, etc.)
  • Provide suggestions or ask students to clarify their captions. 
  • Ask about image pairings

4 Presentation/Wrap-up: Book talks

Activity: Presenting

Once the books and timelines are done, have students break into groups of 3-4 to present their timelines to each other.  Ideally you can book different spaces (library space, for example) so that they can use their timelines as book talks.