Thursday, September 13, 2007
What to do about a timeline?
By popular demand (Hi Beth!), I have made a super cool slide show of E9's timeline from Marie Curie- thus far! We use the FIAR timeline which is a fairly new product offered. Timelines can be made in all kinds of styles. Some people prefer to have wall timelines. They arrange it to sprawl a length of wall and lately I've seen a lot of posts showing three strings displaying different millenniums. People like to add their own family members and events and all of these are fun. Some folks go with the notebook format still showing a steady line through tons of pages marking off the millenniums and centuries and placing timeline figures along the way.
This one is different and I like it though it isn't for everyone. Basically, the timeline consists of a set of templates in landscape or portrait formats. There are places for pictures, explanations, and the year. You can organize it any way you would like. I let E9 choose which pages he would use after I gave him a variety. I think he did reasonably well. Then I had him order up the events within that decade. So far he has chosen to use certain colors for certain years, but that may change as he goes along.
We can choose to display a specific time period on the wall or just leave them in the notebook. When I was remarking that we may not have anything to add to the Andrew Johnson page, E9 said he'd leave it to mark important events from his presidency. Smart kid.
What is the point of a timeline anyway? To me the significance of a timeline is to be able to place people and events from history into a proper context. Time is relative particularly to children who are missing the big picture. My goal is for the kids to put all the events and people they learn through their stories into the correct context within history. If they can do that, then we will have succeeded. Think about how you learned history. For me it was broken up into world vs. US and into different time periods. It hasn't been until recently that I began putting it all together. You know like what was going on everywhere else when Marie Curie was born.
For example, it would never have occurred to me that Laura Ingalls and Marie Curie were born at the same time. Isn't that interesting? While Laura was busy on the frontier dealing with native americans and building doors with her dad, Marie was over in Poland wishing she could study freely in Polish and learn Polish history. When Laura was taking her first ride on the railroad, Marie was trying to study physics at the Sorbonne in a language she did not know.
So for us, the FIAR timeline templates work. They are flexible and allow us to be creative in how we approach history. I'm sure we'll change and refine how we use them. More important than spreading years and years of history before us, waiting to be filled with figures based on our study, is the idea that our kids know where to put the people and events they meet where they fit into the big story of the world.