ALEX Lesson Plan

Time After Time:  How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 1 

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Amanda Walker
System: Hoover City
School: Bluff Park Elementary School
Author:Carol McLaughlin
System: Hoover City
School: Greystone Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35351


Time After Time:  How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 1 


The lesson will focus on ordering common events by times, days, months, steps, or events.  Students will work collaboratively in groups to organize five child-focused events, steps, or times.   These titles, events, steps, days, and times will be cut apart so that students need to organize them into a logical sequence. Groups will rotate through the five events to practice daily schedules, holidays, school schedules, weekly events, and procedural texts. Groups may take a picture of completed events as a digital copy or the teacher may check each group for formative assessment.

This unit was created as part of the ALEX Interdisciplinary Resource Development Summit.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
12 ) Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. [RI.2.3]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
28 ) Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.2.8]

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 2
Living and Working Together in State and Nation
2 ) Identify national historical figures and celebrations that exemplify fundamental democratic values, including equality, justice, and responsibility for the common good.

•  Recognizing our country's founding fathers, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, John Adams, John Hancock, and James Madison
•  Recognizing historical female figures, including Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Harriet Tubman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe
•  Describing the significance of national holidays, including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Presidents' Day; Memorial Day; the Fourth of July; Veterans Day; and Thanksgiving Day
•  Describing the history of American symbols and monuments
Examples: Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, bald eagle, United States flag, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 2
Living and Working Together in State and Nation
3 ) Use various primary sources, including calendars and timelines, for reconstructing the past.

Examples: historical letters, stories, interviews with elders, photographs, maps, artifacts

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Student will analyze and order events and times.

  • Students will process data and report results.

  • Students will display the understanding of the connection between a series of events by choosing the titles of the events.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Document with events for each group: (This is an editable document can be changed to meet your own schedules and needs.)

Teacher will need to print and cut apart events, days, times, and titles on document.  

Timeline Questions for group- 1 sheet per group

For digital copies:  iPads, cameras, etc.

As the Oak Tree Grows by G. Brian Karas

Books with timelines or Pebble Books Biographies:  

  • George Washington by Erin Edison
  • Martin Luther King Jr. by Riley Flynn
  • Rosa Parks by Erin Edison
  • Clara Barton by Erin Edison
  • Sally Ride by Erin Edison
  • Susan B. Anthony by Erin Edison
  • Jane Goodall by Erin Edison
  • Harriet Tubman by Erin Edison
  • Florence Nightingale by Erin Edison
  • Marie Curie by Erin Edison
  • Helen Keller by Erin Edison
  • Pocahontas by Erin Edison



Technology Resources Needed:

  • Computer
  • Google Docs
  • Smartboard Projector for teacher demonstration book
  • For Digital copies: iPads, cameras, Etc. 


Prior to teaching this lesson, students need to understand basic calendar skills such as order of the days of the week, months of the years and holidays.

Students will also need to know how to use a basic piece of electronics like an Osmo (or another procedure with steps). Students also need to be able to order numbers from least to greatest.


TW=Teacher Will 

SW=Student Will 


TW-Display Standard SS3: Use various primary sources, including calendars and timelines, for reconstructing the past.  Examples: historical letters, stories, interviews with elders, photographs, maps, artifacts.  Unpack standard with students.

TW/SW-Analyze standard to write it in kid friendly terms. Ex: I can rebuild the past with a timeline. See attached picture.  



1st period:  30-45 Minute

1. TW show an example sequence of events without a title from

2. TW tell students  “Today we will be working with groups. You will be given a list of events.  You will work with your group to put these events in order. “

3. TW show all the possible event titles.  TW keep these titles at a common table for students to come get after they have put their designated event group in order.  

4. TW tell students “Once your group has finished placing your events in order, you will need to discuss what these events or steps have in common.  You will then pick out a title from this table to give a title to your sequence of events.”

5. TW divide students into five groups: Specials, Subjects, How to Use, Holidays, and Events in a Day.  Four groups can be made if you eliminate the “How to Use_______” group.

5. SW work together in small groups to order events for five minutes with each grouping.

6. SW rotate through all five groups.  At each group, SW take a picture to record their answers using a camera, Explain Everything app, Seesaw app, etc.  



2nd Period: 30-45 Minute

  1. TW  Read As The Oak Tree Grows by G. Brian Karas.  
  2. TW stop while reading to discuss how much time has passed between pages.  
  3. TW/SW create a timeline together recording time that passes in As The Oak Tree Grows.
  4. TW/SW will work together to generate questions about the timeline.
  5. TW divide students into groups or with partners to observe/analyze books with timelines.
  6. Each group will be given a biography of a famous American: Suggested titles:
    • George Washington by Erin Edison
    • Martin Luther King Jr. by Riley Flynn
    • Rosa Parks by Erin Edison
    • Clara Barton by Erin Edison
    • Sally Ride by Erin Edison
    • Susan B. Anthony by Erin Edison
    • Jane Goodall by Erin Edison
    • Harriet Tubman by Erin Edison
    • Florence Nightingale by Erin Edison
    • Marie Curie by Erin Edison
    • Helen Keller by Erin Edison
    • Pocahontas by Erin Edison
  7. SW find the timeline in their biography. The groups will discuss and answer these questions.  TW observe students in groups and help where needed.
  8. TW/SW show and discuss things they noticed about timelines: dates, years, pictures, facts, etc. with the group.


1.  After all tasks have been completed,  SW complete exit ticket.

2.  TW/SW revisit standard, reflect, and discuss what was discovered.

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Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment: The teacher should informally assess students during the group activities and whole class discussions. Teacher should use timeline questions to assess understanding: TW will use data collected from the day 1 session to see if students are understanding the sequence of events.  

TW will use data collected from the day 2 session to see if students are understanding parts of a timeline: specific distance, dates, facts, pictures (in some cases), etc.  TW use the timeline questions sheet and any notes made while observing students in groups during timeline task.  TW also use exit ticket ( discover objectives obtained during lesson and questions that are still remaining. 



Students that need to expand on their understanding, can create a timeline featuring the famous Americans from the group according to their birthdates.   They can create this digitally or on paper.  This timeline can be shared with the group deepen understanding on the past as it is related to the featured famous Americans.



If there are students that require additional help with understanding number order (years in timeline), they should be pulled in a small group to practice number order with the teacher prior to the group activity.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.