Timelines are visual tools which help learners understand how events and concepts unfold in historical chronology. They are especially helpful at providing insight into how events impact each other.
Currently, the CIE website has two timelines which can be useful in your teaching of Israel and Zionism. These include:
- Our comprehensive timeline of Jewish, Zionist and Israeli history
- Jerusalem timeline of the 3,000-year history of the Jewish people and the capital of Israel
While timelines can be static, consider these educational techniques to enhance your use of them in the classroom or other settings:
1. As an experiential set-induction to a new topic of study
Using a timeline of events for a new topic may seem like an impossible challenge, but when provided with context clues that can help students connect events to other occasions, it can be a useful tool to introduce new material. This can also be useful as a way to assess student learning at the completion of a unit.
Example: Take events from a timeline and cut them into strips. Have students work together or in teams to put the events in proper historical order. Allow the use of external devices if you feel that they need help. Students can also hang the events using some rope and clothespins or command strips. As an extension, assign each student one entry from the activity to research for homework and present to the class.
2. As a way to teach about biographies
As students are learning about important individuals, have them create timelines of events from the individual’s life. They should include important milestones which are mandated by the educator such as birthdate etc., but should allow for leeway for students to choose additional moments that they feel are significant. The result is a visual display that can be used to engage parents and the community in the learning undertaken by the students. Web-resources such as http://www.myhistro.com/ are a great way to infuse the learning and output of students timelines using technology.
Example: Students create an artistic timeline of events from Theodor Herzl’s life. They should include: birthdate, Dreyfus Trial, writing The Jewish State, First Zionist Congress, his visit to Palestine, death date and 3-5 additional events that they feel are significant. For each entry they should provide as much detail as possible in 2-3 sentences and include a relevant photo or illustration.
3. Using existing timelines as a template to add new details or connect to prior learning
Any existing timeline that you find will be populated by events that the author thought were significant. In this use of timelines, students act as researchers to “fill-in” missing detail to existing timelines. Students have to research beyond the material given in the timeline and then write entries for other moments. This can be done either as a way to expand knowledge about a specific sequence of history or as a way to connect new knowledge to prior knowledge.
Example: Students are provided with a timeline of notable occurrence in early Zionism. Below the entries, they need to add significant events which they have learned about in general history which may be related or influenced the events on the Zionism timeline.
4. As an art or multimedia project
Have students move beyond the printed timelines and develop artistic representations or video reenactments of the events. This can be done in creative ways, such as creating a storyboard for a movie about the event you are learning about – what needs to be included and what should be left out.
Example: Divide students into a group and assign each group one event from the weeks leading up to the June 1967 War. Groups should create a news video about their particular event. Once all the news videos have been created, students can add an introduction explaining how each event was connected.
Helpful links on using timelines in the classroom:
- A good overview from Education World with sample timeline activities
- Teaching with Timelines article from TeachingHistroy.org includes rationale for using timelines in the classroom
- An educational blog about how timelines can be utilized effectively across multiple subject areas
- This entry from the Professional Learning Board offers suggestions for innovative timelines
- Three ways to use timelines in flipped classrooms