Notable Sands of Time: Seeing the Relationship Between Historical Events in Texts

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SWBAT use information gained from the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g. where, when, why, and how key events occur) to describe the relationship between a series of historical events.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students will pull key details from texts they’ve read to create a historical timeline as well as write a reflective statement based on their reading.

Enroll Students Into Learning

5 minutes

Today, we begin our lesson by gathering on the carpet.  I tell the students that I am so proud of them because this week, as we read about notable people, the students have done a great job reading closely, thinking about and formulating questions, as well as citing evidence from the text as their answers!  I ask the students, “Don’t you feel like you’ve learned a lot?  I do!  Today, we’re going to show what we’ve learned about history in a different way!”  Really, what I'm hoping for my students to gain today, is a stronger knowledge of the disciplines through literature, which is one of the ELA CCSS shifts!

Experience Learning

5 minutes

I ask the students if they can give me a list of how their day has gone so far.  For example, can someone tell me what you’ve done today from the start of the day until now?  I let a student or two describe their day, and I ask for specific detail as necessary!  Once a few students have described their events, I tell the students that I'd like them to guess what they just shared with us!  After a few guesses, I tell them that they just shared their timeline for today!  I ask if the students know what a timeline is, and a hand goes up!  The student says, “Yes, I know what a timeline is!  A timeline is a list of events that happen, starting at the beginning and going to the end.”  I confirm for the student that this is exactly right-a timeline shows a certain period of time, which could be a day, a month, a year, or any other time period we choose, and the important events within that time period.

Next, I ask the students what period of time we’ve recently been reading about as we learned about Booker T. Washington and Charles Lindbergh.  A student says, “The turn-of-the-century!”  Yes!  That’s exactly the time period we’re going to focus on today as we create our own timelines!

Label New Learning

5 minutes

To label the students’ learning today, I tell the students that today, we’re going to use the information we’ve gained from reading two biographical texts we’ve read, More Than Anything Else and Flight, to show the relationship between historical events during the turn-of-the-century!

Demonstrate Skills

10 minutes

To start, the students each get a copy of “My Creative, Inventive, and Notable People Timeline” template.  We identify that 1900 is the actual century that turns, and so we plot that right in the middle of our timeline.  Then, we label the remaining plots by counting out the years in increments of five and labeling them on the timeline. 

I first model for the students by plotting when Booker T. Washington was born, which was in 1856.  Then, I ask the students to look back through the text, More Than Anything Else, to find how old Booker T. Washington was when he started to learn to read.  One of the students finds the evidence and offers, “He was nine years old!  It says it right here!”   That’s great!  I ask the students what year would Booker T. Washington have been 9 years old if he was born in 1856.  A student raises their hand and says, “He would have been 9 years old in 1865!”  I tell the students awesome work finding evidence to show the relationship between these events in history!  Now that we know when Booker T. Washington was nice and wanted to learn to read, we can plot that on the timeline as well!

Once we have our two plots for Booker T. Washington, I ask the students to again look carefully for evidence of events in history through a text, but this time, through the text Flight, that was all about Charles Lindbergh that we’ve previously read.  I ask the kids to find two pieces of evidence that we can plot about Charles Lindbergh.  Students dig through the text, searching for evidence that we can cite and show on our timeline of the turn-of-the-century.  Once the students find the evidence, students plot it on their timelines.  (See a picture of a sample of a student timeline in the Resources section here.) 


5 minutes

As a review today, I tell the students that in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to read some more biographies, specifically about creative and inventive people.  But, now that we know all about notable people, I’d like for the students to think about what makes a person notable.  I remind them that they've heard a few different ways that people can be considered notable, and today, I’d like them to write a statement about what they think makes a person notable!  Here, I give each student a “Notable Speak Bubble” template an allow them to write their idea of what makes a person notable!  This would also be a great task to do with a parent helper as well, and so in the future, as we read about creative, and inventive people, I may enlist the help of our parent helpers with this reflective writing, too!


15 minutes

As you’ll find in most of my lessons, I do not usually include a “Homework” section.  Usually, homework in my classroom consists of a routine list of tasks, including practicing spelling words, math facts, reading a book that is just right for the readers, and sometimes other small tasks.  However, with this week being focused on “notable” people, my teaming partner Nici and I couldn’t resist coming up with an extra special homework assignment for each day of this week.  So, throughout all of these “notable people” lessons, you’ll find our special homework assignment for each day!

For homework, we’ve taken a Kids Discover Magazine all about The Wright Brothers and created a mini workbook where students can practice a variety of CCSS related to informational text!  Each day, students read a portion of the biographical magazine at home and then complete a portion of their mini workbook, which we’ve entitled the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book”!  We’ve also created an introductory video to go with each day’s assignment that the students watch before their reading and completing their work for the evening!   Check out Day 5’s video and the “Fantastic Flying Facts and Figures Book” in the resources section here!

In addition to creating and plotting our timelines throughout the week on the texts we've read in class, I also had the students plot the notable events they learned about as they read about the Wright Brothers at home!  Check out the picture here!