I’m posting my reflection to our UW Tacoma activity having our students make personal timelines as a way of facilitating biography-driven instruction.
I began the year with the Where I’m From activity that I found through the National Writing Project, although I know a lot of other folks have modified it. Students brainstormed experiences in their lives that might either be monumental and life-changing, or small but still having a long-reaching effect.
Then, we read It’s About Me-ow, a book that includes a non-linear timeline of the history of cats. Students used the example as an anchor for creating their own timelines. One student, for example, chose to have her timeline shaped as a heart. The timelines will be compiled with students’ Where I’m From poems as a classroom book that they will share with their families at student-led conferences.
In reflecting on the impact of this activity in our class, I noticed that the activity fit in well with our first social studies unit looking at geography and timelines. It also supported our beginning of the year community-building activities. Students also enjoyed comparing their timelines with traditional timelines created by students in other classes.