Past, Present, Future

Timeline for Children

Before beginning teaching any history standards at any grade level, students need to understand the concept of time. Teaching the key words of past, present, and future will help them build their understanding of history. 

I always model what a timeline is and show them what I mean using the words past, present and future by constructing a timeline of my life. They love hearing stories of my past and counting the number of years since I was born or when I started kindergarten. Yes, I know they get so excited to find out that I am old. But, no I'm not as old as Abraham Lincoln (as one student asked me one year).

After learning about timelines I give each student the opportunity to make their own timelines at home. I send this home as a homework project because I love seeing the help and support from parents. The students create wonderful models of their lives using real photographs and newspaper ads. The students love sharing their timelines with the class and learning about one another.

One thing I plan on using this year in my classroom is a history timeline. I love how this 3rd grade teacher from my school posted a large timeline and adds to it as they move through history in their lessons and units. 

Classroom Timeline

In second grade we begin talking about the Native Americans and the settling of Jamestown. Following this we begin discussing the 13 colonies and the Revolutionary War. Finally we finish our 2nd grade history units with westward expansion and explorers. Having a visual timeline posted in the classroom will be a great visual aide to show the students how much time passes between each important event. Throughout my years of teaching I've noticed that is the one area that the students have a hard time understanding in history, they have difficulty grasping the concept of time. 

Hopefully you can use these ideas in your classroom to bring your timelines of history to life. Help your students understand the past, present, and future. 


Thanks for reading my post on Hello Sunshine. Please visit my blog, The Creative Classroom to find other creative ways to engage your students every day!

 The Creative Classroom

1 comment :

  1. Timelines are such a great activity. I loved using them in so many projects. The large timeline on the wall is such a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.