Sunday, September 23, 2012

Snapshots on Sunday: Overview of US History Classroom Timeline

Hi Friends! Happy Sunday :)

Today I am linking up with the clutter free classroom for "Snapshots on Sunday" with pictures from our social studies timelines. We have been developing a working understanding of time periods in United States history all year (we started in July :) through an introductory timeline activity at the beginning of the year, continuous timeline activities during our Colonization/Revolutionary War unit, and a "History is Interesting" feature article writing project to get us ready for our field trip to Washington DC.

During the first week of school, I kicked off social studies with an "Overview of US History" Timeline Activity. I printed everything for the timeline in color on cardstock. (Color because I wanted to display a pretty timeline in the classroom or hallway :) Here's what we did.

Each student received an event/time period card.

Students used their social studies books and other materials to research their time period and complete a summary sheet. (The purpose of this sheet was to represent their research.)

Next, students drew an illustration to represent their time period and recorded their summary again. (The purpose of this sheet was to create an illustration that would be displayed with the event card on our classroom timeline).
Now, I must confess that what I intended for us to do next (Jigsaw) got pushed to the side because it was the first week of school and because the actual research took us longer (2-3 days) than I thought it would. But, this was a great assessment activity for me to see how students' responded to our 5th grade social studies book, their understanding of history, how adept they were at identify what information was important, and whether or not they could write a clear summary.

So, since we didn't have time for students to share their history research at the beginning of the year, I decided to save the jigsawing to kickoff our "History is Interesting" Feature Article research projects. To set up, each student placed their event/era card, summary sheet, and illustration on their desk. We used my favorite jigsaw strategy:

1. Students move from desk to desk to take a look at their classmates' work. (I always have some students place their work in other places around the room to space my little worker-bees out around the room a little more).
2. Only one student can be at a desk at a time.
3. No talking, only reading and working. (Is this why I love the strategy so much? :)

Students are so engaged during this time and love looking at each others' work. It also eliminates the boredom of listening to 25 kids tell about their topic AND allows for students who can accomplish more/work faster to move through the assignment at their own pace.

So what did students do while they were moving around the room? Students recorded the time periods they learned about during the jigsaw in their Student Timeline Booklets. When students record an event on their timeline, they are required to write a summary and a simple symbol or illustration of the event.
 The final step was to display all of the students' work on our classroom timeline in the hallway.
If you are lucky enough to have a lot of wallspace for your timeline (I AM NOT :( :(!) I would suggest spacing out the events as much as you can to allot for the time periods you study in your social studies curriculum. I would love to have enough space to do a student illustrated activity for each era we student to show more specific events from each time period. Maybe I can figure out a way, but for now, this is what I have the space for in my hallway.

Today and Tomorrow only, you can get the Timeline Materials as a FREEBIE! After Monday, the timeline materials are $2.00. (Figuring out the dates for this timeline was a MASSIVE undertaking this summer--I never realized stamping down eras and the dates of time periods was so complicated, but I could not find a consistent list anywhere, so had to come up with this all on my own. I hope you can benefit from this work!) :)

Can't wait to see SNAPSHOTS from you classroom! Tune in tomorrow for a special announcement! :)

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