Timeline Tips

By , April 14, 2020 1:56 pm

due Fri. Oct. 16 by the end of the day

1. Overview and Topics

You will choose one perspective from which to make a timeline-with-attitude for events of this unit so far. Do not use any dates past 1789 or before 1650. 

Perspective Choices: 

  1. Indigenous person in North America (see 7 Years War)
  2. Enslaved American (see Early Industrialization, Enlightenment, Slave Trade)
  3. Free Black in the Caribbean (see Slave Trade, Code Noir, Haitian Revolutions)
  4. Enslaved African in the Caribbean (see Slave Trade, Code Noir, Haitian Revolutions)
  5. Indian cotton farmer or handloom weaver (see Early Industrialization, 7 Years War)
  6. Non-Western Enlightened Thinker / Writer (see Enlightenment – may include Akbar and Suleiman, Slave Trade, Code Noir)

You will pick 5 events from the unit (you shouldn’t have to research too much – the content of the unit should provide the info) that belong on YOUR timeline. In other words, choose events that are important to someone with your perspective; they should be events that brought progress to you or decline to you. It would be nice to have events both above and below the line.

Since this is a timeline, each event needs a DATE.

You will carefully label the scale of your timeline. It should not just be +3 progress, -3 decline. You need to set criteria for what each level on the scale means.

Here is a portion of a sample from Ms. G based on unit 1 events.




Students often use Prezi for timelines. Google Draw is acceptable. PPT (Google slides) is generally not a great choice. If you want to make a timeline by hand drawing/writing and then take a photo of it, I’m fine with that. See the video posted on Google classroom for a Prezi sample and a handmade sample. The video has some additional hints on using HTC terminology as well.


Paragraph: After you create your timeline, choose one event from it that would serve as a turning point for your chosen perspective. Note that a turning point is a change in:

  • the direction of change
  • the pace of change

To show change you must be able to explain the difference between before and after. You need to be very explicit in explaining the before/after difference.

Your paragraph should have a clear topic sentence, 3 point/example/arguments and a summarizing concluding sentence. It should be written in third person.

If you have done any research beyond the unit topics, please cite your sources in embedded citations.

CHY4U_Turning_Point_Paragraph_Outline (use this to structure your paragraph)



2. Labeling the Scale – Using Criteria

Once you have identified 5 events that are relevant to your perspective, you should begin creating your timeline.

First, you will need to label the scale. That means that every level on the scale needs a description, not just a number.

You have to develop the criteria you’ll use to give each event a score.

Criteria is a very important part of thinking. It means that you have reasons for your decisions. You’re not just randomly assigning everything a +3 or -3. You can actually distinguish between a +3 and +2, or between a -1 and -2.

To determine criteria, you need to understand what matters in your perspective (not actually yours personally, but more the type of person whose perspective you’re looking at).

You are NOT writing in role. You are writing as a historian discussing the score this event would get from your group’s perspective.



If I were making a timeline with attitude about COVID-19 from the perspective of Donald Trump, his description of maximum progress would be very specific and it might be different from the Surgeon General of the US’s or from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s view of a +3.

The criteria has to be a little bit loose in order to fit a wide range of events. However, it has to be descriptive.


Avoid Fuzzy Words

Certain words make poor descriptions:




  • what exactly do these words mean? Very unclear.

Use your word sense to write expressive descriptions. Remember when I tried to “hire” writers for Diderot’s Encyclopedie? I wanted creative writers who could apply criteria.


Word Limits

Please be aware of the sentence limit (2-4). You cannot write an unlimited amount. You are being asked to write concisely yet precisely. It’s a very important skill. For instance, as college and university classes become bigger and bigger, you will probably be forced to write within page limits quite often. So practice here!

Sentences don’t have to be short. By grade 12 you should be able to use commas and semi-colons proficiently. 

Please capitalize all proper nouns (names, countries, religions, etc.) I have noticed that many students do not capitalize these words. Proofread your work before you submit it, please. 


3. Using HTC Terminology in Your Timeline 


The Ontario curriculum emphasizes Historical Thinking Concepts. I have to evaluate your ability to use these concepts. Therefore, I give you vocabulary lists, you have a link to the HTC booklet on this blog, and I highlight the words in my video (see google classroom for link).

Bold them, draw my attention to them. Show me you know that you are using them!

To increase your mark, use them in a sophisticated way. For example, don’t just write progress or decline over and over. Use the synonyms I’ve given you.

Any references to causes and consequences should include descriptors such as long-term, medium-term, short-term, direct, indirect, intended, unintended, or any of the PERSIAT factors.

Obviously, use HTC in the turning point paragraph. Turning point is a sub-point of continuity and change and directly relates to progress and decline. 


4. Turning Point Paragraph

Pick one event that was a turning point for your group (perspective). Explain why using three pieces of specific, detailed evidence. Follow proper paragraph structure by using the template as an outline. 

Apply HTC, meaning define turning point and refer to the criteria for it in your explanations. A turning point is a change in direction or pace. If you don’t refer to these things directly, you won’t get the mark you want!

If you do any additional research, make sure to cite it using the embedded format we’ve been using so far. If you use websites, make sure they are reliable using the COR (civic online reasoning) principles. 



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