Adventures in Novel Activities: Tabata Timeline

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November 2021 – 

There are about a million activities you can do with a novel (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration; but there are a lot). Tabata Timeline (a la Señorita Spanish) has become one of my favorites. It’s become one of my favorites for a few reasons:

1 – It’s virtually zero prep (unless you’re printing her template) and… 

2 – I can use it with literally any chapter of any book ever.  

For these two reasons, I use it often. If we’re reading and a chapter ended quickly or faster than I thought, I can pull this activity out with no prep work required. It’s also great because it’s challenging and the kids enjoy it. So… how does it work?

Ps. You can click here to read about it on her blog

Step 1: Read the information you want kids to use (doesn’t even have to be a novel, but it does either need quite a few events or it needs to be long enough to have enough material for 9+ unique events)

Step 2: Kids need a piece of paper (or Señorita Spanish’s template) that they will fold into 9 sections. I like. to fold the paper with them… because the idea of 9 pieces is a lot for them to process 😂

Step 3: Students write 9 things that happened in the chapter. I like to emphasize that these are things that happened, or something someone said, or did.. not necessarily “events”. I give kids like 2 minutes to write these down… or else they’ll take forever. DO NOT LET THEM NUMBER THE EVENTS. 

Step 4: After their events are written, they will tear their paper into the 9 boxes and mix up the order and stack them on their seat. 

Step 5: Students will change seats (I keep them standing because it’s faster) in a pre-established order (like everyone goes to the right, etc.)

Step 6: When you say “go” students will have :45 seconds to put the events in front of them in the correct order. At the end of :45 seconds, even if they are not finished, they will stop and mix them back up and switch. 

Step 7: Repeat as many times as you’d like, I like to do 5 or so. If no one is finishing I might extend for 2 more rounds. If they are finishing then I’ll speed up the time :05 seconds each round. 

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