Did the Prophet Isaiah live in the time frame of BC or AD? What year was Jesus born? If you had to think more than a few seconds before answering these questions, you are not alone. Kids and adults alike often struggle to correctly place Bible events on a historical timeline yet understanding how our calendar works is important for a thorough knowledge of the Bible.
I fondly recall my days as a child in Sunday School when I was allowed to write graffiti on my classroom wall. Well, it actually wasn’t graffiti but was a chronological timeline of Old Testament Bible events. I don’t know if my Sunday School teacher got permission from the church leaders before allowing us to write on all four walls, but I know I can clearly recall many of those Bible stories today.
Whether it is electronic or paper, a timeline displayed prominently in a classroom is a valuable reference tool when telling Bible stories. Allowing children to record Bible events on a timeline during or after the story puts the story timeframe in perspective.
Recording Bible events in chronological order on a timeline with the direction of a teacher is achievable. Teaching kids to understand the difference between BC/AD (Before Christ/Anno Domini) and BCE/CE (Before Common Era/Common Era) as they create a timeline can be more challenging but is just as important.
The YouTube video BC/AD VS BCE/CE at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mChlWJLdUEw is an excellent video resource that models in very simple terms how our calendar works in relation to the birth of Jesus Christ. Teachers may wish to model the same explanation from the video for their students or allow the entire class to watch the video and then discuss.
The YouTube video BC and AD Timeline at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFu-zMjGJJA explains in mathematical terms how a timeline works in relation to our calendar. This video is appropriate for older kids.
If you want to really get kids engaged in learning, allow them to use technology when creating timelines. Check out Educational Technology and Mobile Learning’s web site at the link below. Numerous free timeline web sites are listed with one specifically geared toward kids. Read, Write, Think (http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/student-interactives/timeline-30007.html) timelines are very easy to create, can be saved to build upon later and can be printed.