Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Does Time Really Stand in Line? Learning About a Timeline.

Subject Area

Social Studies




In this lesson, students will learn the purpose of a timeline and how to create one. Students will also be able to apply timeline skills to reading comprehension.

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 1


    Construct daily schedules, calendars, and timelines.

    Unpacked Content



    • construct
    • apply
    • uses
    • schedule
    • agenda
    • calendar
    • month
    • years
    • days of the week
    • timeline (picture/year)
    • elapsed time
    • past
    • long ago
    • present
    • yesterday
    • today
    • future
    • tomorrow


    Students know:
    • The purpose of a schedule and how to construct a daily schedule (present).
    • The purpose of a calendar and how to construct a calendar (future).
    • The purpose of a timeline and how to construct a timeline (past).
    • Vocabulary: long ago, yesterday, today, tomorrow, past, present, future


    Students are able to:
    • Sequence daily classroom activities.
    • Create a calendar.
    • Create a timeline.


    Students understand that:
    • Constructing schedules, calendars, and timelines helps document past, present, and/or future events.

    Primary Learning Objectives

    Students will be able to explain what a timeline is, how it can be used, and what information can be used in a timeline.

    I can read information in a timeline.

    I can construct a classroom family timeline.

    I can use basic math and counting skills to read a timeline.

    I can use the skill sequencing to create a timeline.


    Before Lesson: Day 1

    Activity 1:

    The teacher will need to introduce vocabulary using a best practice vocabulary model (sample model: say the word, use the word in context and pictorial representation, define the word, apply the word). The words will need to be posted on a word wall.

    Vocabulary Word List:

    Past, present, future, timeline, history, grow, change, dates, events

    Activity 2:

    Close Reading of Text "Timelines"   (see close reading method in background knowledge).

    During Lesson: Day 2

    Activity 1: Classroom Timeline

    1. Give each child a rectangle to write their name, month, and date of their birthday.

    2. Create a timeline with masking tape on the floor and month tags. Invite children to stand on masking tape timelines in the appropriate order of their birthdays.

    3. Show children whose birthdays fall in the same month how to look at the dates to see that the lowest number is listed first. This is where the teacher will make a strong connection with students about counting sequencing and timeline-counting sequencing.

     4. Make a timeline on bulletin board paper, and have students tape up their birthdays in the correct order. This will serve as the classroom birthday board.

    After Lesson: Day 3

    Activity 3: My Life Timeline

    1. The students will receive a blank timeline frame. The students will illustrate and write a statement to describe a timeline of the past, present, and future (I want to be ________) of their life. The students will present their timeline to the class during a show-and-tell.

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will create a personal timeline of their past, present, future. This formative assessment is activity 1 of After Lesson Content.


    Students may choose their favorite story. Students will receive a blank timeline to record events in their story.


    The teacher will use familiar skills in a small group setting to make learning focused, intentional, and applicable. The teacher will call qualifying students to a meeting area. The teacher will use months of the year, numerals, and/or days of the week to sequence.

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Background and Preparation


    Before starting this lesson, the teacher should have background information for explaining timelines.

    The teacher should have date cards and illustration cards ready for students to illustrate birth month.

    If a percentage of students needs remedial instruction, the teacher should also have other cards available for using in a small group setting.

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    Informational Text:  Using a Timeline

    Month of the year date cards for timeline

    Blank rectangles for students to illustrate birth month

    Blank Timeline Graphic Organizer

    tape (used to adhere to classroom surface)

    Technology Resources Needed

    View various historical online timelines and choose: Timelines:  History and Biography Timelines