Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives Educational Curriculum

SOCIAL STUDIES: Floor-to-Ceiling Woody Guthrie Timeline
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No matter the developmental age of your students, a fun whole group activity is to create a huge classroom timeline to refer to throughout your unit on Woody Guthrie. You may want to start out the unit with a walk through his times, or use it as a mid-unit review of events in his life or complete it as a culminating activity.

Use the timeline as a framework, adding other historical events that are relevant to your studies throughout the year.

Getting Started

There is an excellent timeline available through the Library of Congress.

Retrieve the Woody Guthrie timeline and enlarge it several times so words can be read across a crowded classroom when the timeline is hung on a wall. Cut each year and its events in an unstructured way, creating cloud-like shapes. Put them in a laundry basket. Cut butcher paper the length of your classroom from the floor to the ceiling.


Play your favorite Woody Guthrie music as you lay butcher paper on the floor and gather the whole class around it. Ask children to remove their shoes so they will be able to walk up and down the timeline. Have a student write 1912 at the top of the butcher paper and 1967 at the bottom.

Call on students to choose an event out of the laundry basket and walk along the timeline, placing it where it might go. Continue this procedure, asking students to jiggle the papers around to fit events sequentially. Input from peers is encouraged. The whole class should be talking together figuring out how to sequence events and develop ways to place them on the timeline. After everyone has had a chance for input and all the events are placed, students can glue them down.

Invite children to make illustrations for the timeline. While they are drawing, higher the music!

As students complete their artwork they should come over to the timeline and glue their work in the appropriate place.

When glue is dry, hang up the timeline in a prominent place and refer to it throughout your study of Woody Guthrie.

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