So the last time we talked I mentioned “Time Scripts.” I like this idea. It’s a story where you can pick out the connections, the causes and effects of different events. This resource can serve as a graphic way to organize text, and show the progression of time.
Last time I noted the difficulty in teaching the concept of time in the BIG sense of it. I think if we begin to chunk our history for kids into digestiable bites, over the long haul, we will see them connecting eras, and periods more easily.
So here’s how I’d teach it
- First I list two words (without the accompanying definitions)
- I ask students to turn and talk and share what these words mean, and also if they know their roots. I do this any chance I get. I don’t know that it is needed. I just like to.
Chronology is the order in time. Its root is Chon which literally means time.
Century’s root is centi, which means 100.
- I then wrote two numbers on the board 1700-1900.
Q: How long a period is this?
A: 200 years
- Now I ask for another turn and talk:
Q: What kinds of events from history do we put on timeline?
(Give them a good two minutes)
They will be varied. But probably will be births of famous people, wars, establishments of cities, inventions, deaths. The list will go on.
“Today I want to show you that events don’t just happen. They happen because of causes that came before. They also have efeects after they happen. We can look in and around the events in the texts to determine these causes and effects.”
- I share some sample text:
In 1869 the final link in a transcontinental railroad was finished, connecting Nebraska and Califrninia. A local Railroad went through the town of Walla. The Northern Pacific Railroad completed a second railroadline from the Great Lakes to the Puget Sound in 1886, followed by the Great Northern rail in 1893. Before the railroad, a trip to the eastern states took four long months by wagon. Travel and overland shipping of farm products and timber was mucheasier.
The trains brought more settlers to the territor. Towns sprang up along the railroad routes. Many African American, Chinese and Japanese people came to work on the railroads. Between 1880 and 189, the population increased from 75,000 to more than 350,000, enough people to apply for statehood. On November 11,1889, Washington became the forty second State.
I show students a copy of my Time Script. Its just a fancy term for creating a graphivc representation of events like in a time line. Kids will use multiple copies, or create their own, to breal down events and come to a conclusion about why and how their event in time happened.
You can see a kid example here, but let me bullet out what I hope the kids and I will discover together.
We know that our event is the day Washington became a state, November 11, 1889.
So, lets start looking around the text to find out why that happened.
They might see that just above it says:
Between 1880 and 189, the population increased from 75,000 to more than 350,000, enough people to apply for statehood.
But what happened before that?
some responses could be:
The Northern Pacific Railroad completed a second railroadline from the Great Lakes to the Puget Sound in 1886, followed by the Great Northern rail in 1893
The trains brought more settlers to the territory.
Answers will vary. It will give you a chance to dive into the text with kids and find out what they need or want to know. Depending on the source, and the assignment you can have them sandwhich the event in the middle of the organizer and build events before and after.
Match your scroipts to your guiding questions. Maybe they are studying when people of Asian discent first arrived in Washington, or when towns were established? Whatever your aobjective, I hope this approach helps.