It is an excellent strategy for engineering numeracy moments in the history classroom. Example: How many years was Henry VIII married to each of his six wives?
I often give students a match-up exercise prior to assigning them the task of creating a timeline. This ensures students have a required number of events in correct sequence. They are free to add more events should they wish. Difficulty level is increased if students have to research events without the match-up exercise. There is scope here for differentiation. Weak students work with the aid of a match-up exercise. Strong students work without the aid of a match-up exercise.
Ask more of your students by getting them to annotate or add a brief note to each event.
It is good practice to follow up by taking feedback and drawing a timeline on the classroom whiteboard. Get your students to annotate using post-its. Assign one event to each student and distribute post-its. As each student finishes the note, he/she attaches the post-it to the allocated event on the whiteboard. If you have a large class group, you will need to allocate one or more event(s) to multiple students.
Use the finished annotated timeline on the whiteboard as an aid for discussion and questioning. Students can 'upgrade' their own timelines by reference to the whiteboard.
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