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Personal Timeline:

Author: Linda Block

Grade Level(s): 1-3

Lesson Description:

Personal Timeline has the students create a booklet/timeline that depicts in pictures, text, and numbers the 8 most important events in their lives. They describe these events by drawing them, writing about them, and placing them chronologically on a timeline.

When the project is completed and printed the document can be assembled into a fold-out book. See the example. This activity may take from 1-3 sessions at the computer and an assembly activity for the booklet.



  • This activity could be shortened or lengthened to include less or more events.
  • Instead of using the template, the events could be depicted much larger on individual documents that are then included into a Slide Show.
  • The cover of the booklet (the back of event 1) can be decorated and annotated.
  • The booklet produced can be tied up with a ribbon or string as a "time capsule" of sorts to themselves. When they are 10 or 15 or 20 they can read what they thought was important at this age.
  • Teachers can use this activity to introduce themselves to their class at the beginning of the year.


Implementation Steps:

Describe the activity completely. Show an example. Have them begin to brainstorm what events will be in their timelines.

Have them open the template file and begin drawing and describing their important events. It may be helpful to have them complete the first one (birth) and the last one before the others. Have them add the year to the blue timeline in the space provided for each event. Have them use a small brush when drawing since the panes are small.

Print the documents. Cut on the solid lines. Fold on the dotted lines in an accordion fashion. The first fold (between event 1 and 2) should be toward the right. The fold between event 5 and 6 should also be to the right. Tape or glue the two pieces together so that events 4 and 5 display correctly.


Preparation Notes:

Place a copy of Personal Timeline template file where the students can open it.


Student Prerequisites:

Students should have completed or be in progress on a unit of time, continuity and change or personal history. See the standards below.

Students need to be able to use the Brush tool and the Text tool.



Use your usual writing rubric for the descriptions. Drawings should be detailed enough to add value to the project.



Download the Personal Timeline template file here.


Standards Addressed:

ISTE NETS Technology Standards: Grades Pre-K-2 Performance indicator(s):

1. Use input devices (e.g., mouse, keyboard, remote control) and output devices (e.g., monitor, printer) to successfully operate computers, VCR's, audiotapes, and other technologies. (1)

8. Create developmentally appropriate multimedia products with support from teachers, family members, or student partners.


ISTE NETS Technology Standards: Grades 3-5 Performance indicator(s):

1. Use keyboards and other common input and output devices (including adaptive devices when necessary) efficiently and effectively.

5. Use technology tools (e.g., multimedia authoring, presentation, Web tools, digital cameras, scanners) for individual and collaborative writing, communication, and publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.


NCSS Standard:


Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.
Human beings seek to understand their historical roots and to locate themselves in time. Such understanding involves knowing what things were like in the past and how things change and develop. Knowing how to read and reconstruct the past allows one to develop a historical perspective and to answer questions such as: Who am I? What happened in the past? How am I connected to those in the past? How has the world changed and how might it change in the future? Why does our personal sense of relatedness to the past change? How can the perspective we have about our own life experiences be viewed as part of the larger human story across time? How do our personal stories reflect varying points of view and inform contemporary ideas and actions?
This theme typically appears in courses that: 1) include perspectives from various aspects of history; 2) draw upon historical knowledge during the examination of social issues; and 3) develop the habits of mind that historians and scholars in the humanities and social sciences employ to study the past and its relationship to the present in the United States and other societies.
Learners in early grades gain experience with sequencing to establish a sense of order and time. They enjoy hearing stories of the recent past as well as of long ago. In addition, they begin to recognize that individuals may hold different views about the past and to understand the linkages between human decisions and consequences. Thus, the foundation is laid for the development of historical knowledge, skills, and values. In the middle grades, students, through a more formal study of history, continue to expand their understanding of the past and of historical concepts and inquiry. They begin to understand and appreciate differences in historical perspectives, recognizing that interpretations are influenced by individual experiences, societal values, and cultural traditions. High school students engage in more sophisticated analysis and reconstruction of the past, examining its relationship to the present and extrapolating into the future. They integrate individual stories about people, events, and situations to form a more holistic conception, in which continuity and change are linked in time and across cultures. Students also learn to draw on their knowledge of history to make informed choices and decisions in the present.