Why is That Event Important? Using a Timeline to Identify Important Events

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SWBAT create a timeline of important events and identify why they are important.

Big Idea

In historical fiction, each event is important to development of the character and the plot.

Introduction and Modeling

10 minutes

There are important events in our lives that were more important than others. Those events changes lives. The events of the characters are also "life changing". This lesson teaches students to pay attention to the main events and how they shape the lives of the characters in the story. 

I model this by creating a timeline of my life with 5 - 7 events. I then choose one to explain further how it affected my life. I explain to students that my life is different now because of this one event. For example, the first time I traveled out of the country made me forever interested in traveling to as many countries as possible. 

In this lesson, students will do the same with their main character.

Guided and Independent Practice

15 minutes

I demonstrated how to pay attention to events and their importance by focusing on the main character of our class read aloud. I quickly create a time line with 3 events and ask the students if there is 1 or 2 more really important things that I should add. 

Finally, I show them how I chose one event to elaborate on, adding a phrase to describe why its important. I then ask them to share why another event is important. 

After the demonstration, I ask them to return to their book and create a timeline for the main character in their book. After they complete the timeline, they should pick at least one event to elaborate on.


5 minutes

After students have had some time to create a timeline and develop a theory, they meet with their book club group. In their group, they share their event and discuss whether or not they agree with each other. They may also add some new ideas to their timeline. 

Group work provides students an opportunity to challenge their think and support their ideas with evidence from the text. When a group works well, rarely will a student get away with stating an opinion without explaining why and finding evidence. 

I remind them that this timeline may grow and that they should add as many big ideas that they can from the discussions within the group.