How to Use a Timeline to Summarize Events in Because of Winn-Dixie

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SWBAT construct a summary using a timeline graphic organizer.

Big Idea

Students will use a timeline graphic organizer to construct a written summary.


1 minutes


9 minutes

Writing in sequence means that you write events in the order in which they happen. A timeline is a type of graphic organizer that helps you list events in the order in which they occur - from first to last.  I begin the lesson by having my students watch a short Brainpop video on writing in sequence and taking the graded quiz.  (Teacher will take and discuss the graded quiz as a whole class.  Students will answer quiz using sign language to show answers (a, b, c, or d), or students will write answers on a personal dry erase board. Teacher will use quiz as a check for understanding and monitor and adjust instructional strategies as appropriate.)  

Guided Practice

10 minutes

We practice together writing information on a timeline and then creating a written summary of the events we listed on the timeline.  I have students to think about their lives and just list 5 major events on the timeline. 

Example I use as a model:

- I was born in 2003.

- In 2006, I had a baby sister.

-  I began kindergarten in 2008.

- Last year, I was in 3rd grade.

- Now, I'm in 4th grade.

Now, we take those events on the timeline and create a written summary, which I write on the board:

On August 23, 2003, I was born in Memphis, TN.  In 2006, I had a baby sister named Natalie.  I began attending kindergarten at Oakhaven Elementary in 2008.  Last year, I was in 3rd grade in Ms. Thomas' class.  Now, I'm in 4th grade this year in Ms. Brown's class.


Independent Practice

30 minutes

Now, I have my scholars to re-read "Because of Winn-Dixie" independently and write 5 major events on their timeline.  After that, they use the events listed on their timeline to create a written summary of the story.  I put our written summary formula on the board for them to reference.  I allow students an opportunity to ask questions and I answer them.


10 minutes

Let's present our written summaries.  As we listen to each other's summaries, listen for the topic sentence that states the main idea, the 3 supporting details, and the conclusion.