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How do you use an American History timeline in teaching?

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A timeline is a useful resource for helping students keep the order of events straight during lessons in American history and American literature. Teachers can use timelines that are pre-printed, primary source timelines or timeline activities in the classroom.

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Timelines are useful tools in both the American history and American literature classroom because they give students a visual representation of the time period they're reading about. Many teachers put up timelines that come with the textbook or that they purchased separately. They refer to these timelines during instruction to help students keep track of the order of events. Timelines associated with American literature include the main literary events occurring concurrently to the historical events.

History and English teachers also use primary sources in their classrooms to give a sense of the time period. In that case, they can use a primary source timeline.

One activity teachers use to help students learn is having them create timelines themselves. In this case, the students input the information as they learn it. Some teachers assign projects associated with timelines. Students are responsible for researching events important to American history and putting them in order on a large sheet of paper or poster board. American literature students include information regarding literary movements and history, perhaps adding the implications of the events on writing.

Timelines typically include the date, event and historical figures associated with the event. In some cases the timeline also includes the ramifications to American history of that event. Other timelines feature small notations about concurrent events in world history.

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