Looking for some classroom decor that can also lend itself to learning? How about putting up a timeline around the border of your room?
The Social Studies curriculum where I teach would work perfect for this (at least in grades 5 and 6)... the curriculum goes over things that happened in Canada over a span of time (starting with the ice age and ending at anything current).
All the grade 5/6 classrooms at my school last year came with this timeline already put up around the room (I'm assuming previous teachers did them) but not a lot else was done with the timelines (I'm also guilty of not doing much with the timeline in my room). In my room the timeline included pictures of all the prime ministers and students would often check who was leading the country during a certain time OR if we were talking about one of them they would find them on the timeline to see what they looked like.
If I ever teach in a grade 5 or 6 class again I would put my timeline to better use though.
Before I do anything with the timeline I think I would have students create their own personal timelines. We did this last year and students struggled with it a bit... BUT I'm not sure you can fully understand how a timeline works if you don't understand how to make one yourself. If I did this again I think I would make the basic timeline for them (sectioning off the years of their lives for them and photocopying it). I had my students put in 10 life events on their timelines.. it could have been anything: the birth of a sibling, a trip they went on, first day of kindergarten, losing first tooth... whatever they wanted to include I was fine with because I mostly just wanted them to familiarize themselves with timelines.
Over the course of the year whenever we talk about a major event I would put it up on the timeline... perhaps with a picture and a sentence or two to summarize what happened. I think it would be good for students to help write this summary... I'm starting to think of making up some kind of Interactive Social Studies Journal where this would be part of what they do (because it is similar to what we did last year for our math journals).
Whenever students did some kind of project that could fit on the timeline I would select one project and put it up on the timeline where it belonged... of course not all projects will fit up there so in that case I would take a picture of the project and put it up.
I think that even just by doing these couple of things students will glance up at the timeline more often and have it be a more useful part of the classroom.
What do you think?
Do you have a timeline in your classroom?
How do you use the timeline?