Sunday, September 8, 2013

Our 2nd Graders Are Researching and Creating “My Life As A Reader” Digital Timelines

We have an amazing group of 2nd graders.....They are creative, love using new technology, and really enjoyed the research we did last year in the library.  

When planning with the two second grade teachers, Melanie Smith and Tracy Ferguson, a few weeks ago, this is something that I kept in mind as we talked about a project to kick off a new year.  
When we collaborate, the teachers and I use our "What's Going On In Your Classrooms In 2013-14?" Google Doc.  We covered things in August to get the students ready to be connected to the library and resources for a new year.  

In September, one of the themes within their classroom is "Now and Then".  They are getting ready for a field trip to Living History Farms in Urbandale, which takes visitors on a trip through farming and agriculture over the years.  

This also ties into the Language Arts standards of the Common Core.  In Writing it states, 

W.2.3  Writes narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event of short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure. 
Through this collaboration it made me think of a project that I read about on my friend Joyce's blog earlier in the summer.  In the post Recording Kids' History As Readers, Joyce highlighted an awesome project from Sarah Gross.  Sarah wrote about it in her Edutopia post, Beyond the Book: Infographics of Students' Reading History.  

We could use have our second graders research their history as a reader and then create a digital project from this information.  
When I started mapping out the project for the second graders, I decided to use a website that would create digital timelines instead of infographics.  I wanted them to truly see the progression through the years and a timeline laid out that way would be perfect.  
I found a timeline creator on the readwritethink website.  It would teach the second graders what a timeline was, let them create events that would sit on the timeline, and let them personalize it with their own words and pictures.  
We started the project by having a wonderful conversation about life as a reader.  We talked about the earliest memories they have as a reader, what books they remember, who read to them, and more interesting moments.

I then told them all about my life as reader and showed them the timeline that I created. They loved hearing the stories behind each of these books too.....Like how in 2nd grade I had to play Mike Parks in the play we had based on the book Freckle Juice because I had red hair.
We then went over the specifics of their timeline project.  I showed them the "My Life as A Reader" Timeline Storyboard and we went over how they would fill this out during their research.
You can find "My Life As A Reader" Storyboard in this Google Doc.  
They couldn't wait to get started.
They used the internet and the library collection for their research.  It was fun to see what and how they would go about this.  We stopped a few times and listened to the stories from the students about what they were doing and how it was working for them.

I love how they teach each other through this curiosity and exploration.
This week we will continue to do our research and then get started on our digital timeline.  

When I  saw them the next day last week, they couldn't even wait to get back into the library.  

I can't wait to see and hear the books that have been important to them as readers....It will be so much fun to continue to share, learn, and create together.  And I am sure we will get ideas on different books we all need to read too.  


  1. This looks like a fascinating and fun project to work on with students! I can't wait to hear how it turns out :)

    1. Thank you Kate.....We will be posting our timelines soon. :)


  2. What a great activity to tie so many things together!

    1. Thank you Richard.....They are loving it. :) We will share their timelines soon.