by Christine Liu-Perkins
I had underestimated the usefulness of a timeline until I was stuck in a confusing muddle of historical research. In desperation, I created a double timeline—one recording major events in the lives of the family I was writing about, and one recording major events in the early Chinese empire. At last, clarity! I gained many insights that had eluded me before, and what I learned enriched multiple sections of the book. That timeline was definitely worth the effort I invested in constructing it.
Timelines not only condense a lot of information, they also help us see connections and patterns, such as:
Interested in giving timelines a try? You can make your own using Microsoft Word or Powerpoint:
You might also include timelines in your manuscripts, activity guides, and presentations. Teachers often look for timelines and encourage students to make them. Here's some sources for creative examples:
How do you use timelines? Have any tips to share?
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