​Teaching with Timelines During Black History Month

Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, celebrates the many accomplishments of black Americans and also provides a great opportunity to reinforce how to effectively use timelines. See below for suggestions on how to teach black history using timelines while developing your students’ critical-thinking and creativity skills.

Develop a Foundation First
Timelines are more than just a visual tool to organize dates; they also allow students to understand the sequence of events and how they are connected. So, prior to creating a timeline, it’s important that students develop a deep understanding of the information they are presenting.

If you teach younger students, go to PBS Kids and explore interactive resources to learn more about the contributions that have been made by African-Americans in US History. Another place to find age-appropriate books, videos, and websites can be found at Reading Rockets.

As students begin to grasp some of the meaningful events and people that have shaped black history, they will be ready to put their information into a timeline. Depending on what you are studying, you may want to ask students to focus their timeline on a specific set of years or on a set topic.

Timeline Overview
If you need a starting point to show students what a timeline is and how it can be used in a historical context, visit Time for Kids and check out their interactive African-American history timeline. This can be used to discuss the basics of a timeline or as a starting point for students to research various aspects of black history.

Timeline Creation
Visit ReadWriteThink.org to download a free timeline template and to explore unique ways to use timelines in your classroom. As students develop their timelines, it’s important to teach them that not every single event throughout black history can make its way onto a timeline. Students will need to find a focus for their timeline in order to narrow it down. For example, a timeline can focus on one person, one or a series of events, a decade, or a movement.

Putting the “Creative” in Timeline Creation
Timelines can be presented through illustrations, photographs, texts, or online interactive formats. Aside from ensuring that they are organized in chronological order, there is no right or wrong way to create timelines. Allowing students to choose how they will present their information is a great way to engage them.

Once students have determined the foci of their timelines, they will need to choose a medium (e.g., poster board and photography collage, online interactive format) and plan how they will present their findings to the class.

Students can:

  • Present a straightforward report on the events
  • Draw illustrations to showcase the events
  • Write and present a poem or song to summarize the events
  • Create a video compilation of clips and soundbites to bring their events to life

The options are endless! Allow students to own their learning throughout this timeline project and the information they learn will stick with them long past the month of February.

Other Ideas
There are so many accomplishments and incredible people to celebrate during Black History Month and timelines are just one way to do it. If you want to learn more about historical perspectives and how to teach students to use historical analysis, check out our course Read Between the Lines: Developing a Critical Historical Perspective.

About the Author:

Karen Mercado is an Advancement Courses facilitator and a veteran teacher of 10 years in the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has a Bachelors in Childhood Education and a Masters in Professional Studies. Karen’s specific passions are history and special education. She currently resides with her son and husband in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Infusing Technology into Your Classroom

As you begin 2017, make it a goal to try new things in order to enhance your teaching and increase student engagement. One way to do this is by taking advantage of new technologies. By incorporating technology more regularly in your classroom, you will immediately energize your teaching and positively impact your students’ learning experiences. Let’s take a look [...]

Read More »

Recognize the Power of Gratitude in 2017

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity... it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ” -Melody Beattie Happy New Year! As you make your resolutions for 2017, we suggest also acknowledging and expressing gratitude for your many successes in 2016. [...]

Read More »

Special Days to Celebrate in January

January can be a challenging month to keep students excited. Between coming back to school after holiday break and the cold weather in many parts of the country, January can drag a bit. So, try spicing up your classroom by celebrating a few of these unique days. January 13 th: Friday the 13th Many people are afraid of the Friday the 13 th; there’s even [...]

Read More »

​SMART Goals to Enrich Your Teaching Practices and Your Life

This year, instead of making broad resolutions that are easily broken, consider making SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound objectives that will provide you with a direct path to achieve success. Since SMART goals are targeted and time-bound, you will be more likely to stick with them and achieve success. Click here to learn more [...]

Read More »

Prevent Student Distractions with Bell Ringers

Imagine walking into a professional development course and on the board at the front of the classroom is a colorful PowerPoint presentation that reads: Welcome! You sit down and take out your materials, excited and ready to learn. But then a few minutes go by. Teachers are filing in and taking their seats, but there is nothing for you to [...]

Read More »

Bring Australia to Your Classroom this Winter

So far this month, we’ve looked at unique ways to enjoy December with your students by discussing ways to celebrate many December holidays from around the world. If you’d like to continue to delight your students with interesting and unique winter activities, we suggest focusing on Australia! Take a look below to learn about Australian-themed winter activities. You’ll likely [...]

Read More »

Unique and Not-So-Unique Days to Celebrate in December

When you think of holidays, you probably think of the winter holidays in December, but there are also some not-as-well-known special days that you can recognize to keep your students engaged! Take a look at the below list of days to celebrate in December as well as some activities that you can engage in with your students. December 7th: Pearl Harbor [...]

Read More »

​Combatting HIV/AIDS in the Classroom

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. HIV/AIDS remains a global epidemic that affects our students, families, and communities both directly and indirectly. In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 of them don’t know it. Young people are the most likely to be unaware of their infection. Among people ages [...]

Read More »

This Winter, Celebrate Diversity in Your Classroom

Now more than ever, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the diversity we find in our classrooms. While many students associate the month of December with Christmas or Hanukkah, there are actually many other celebrations that happen throughout the world in December. Below is a partial list of holidays that take place in December as well as some ideas about [...]

Read More »

Select A Catalog Below:
Grad-Level Credit & Non-Credit Illinois Grad & PD Credits