Home Products Contests Training Support News About Us Navigation
Making Timelines
Grade: 4-5
Subject(s): Researching
Required products: Tool Factory Word Processor
  • A Jar of Dreams -by Yoshiko Uchida
  • Tool Factory Word Processor
  • Overview
    Students will be able to use the book "A Jar of Dreams" by Yoshiko Uchida to discover change over time using a timeline.
    1) While reading "A Jar of Dreams" explain to students that when people move to a new place they begin to adapt to their new surroundings but they don’t adapt immediately, they change over time.
    2) Ask students, what the word “adapt” means. We use it when we talk about animals in science and their ecosystem. (Adapt means to change to be able to survive in an environment).
    3) Ask students why Rinko’s family had to adapt. (Students should answer they are in a foreign land with new customs and traditions, they are different.)
    4) Explain that as we read the book we are going to look at Aunt Waka to identify ways in which the Tsujimura’s have changed over time. We are going to create a timeline in Tool Factory Word Processor of how we think they have changed and when. We cannot be 100% sure this is how it worked, but we can take our best guess.
    5) Explain to the students that we know certain information to keep in mind while doing this:
    a. The book takes place in 1935.
    b. We know Ma and Pa came to California 20 years ago.
    c. We also know that Aunt Waka came over dressed in a kimono (traditional Japanese clothing) and none of the Tsujimura’s were.
    d. Rinko refused to wear a kimono.
    e. They eat only using chopsticks as far as we know.
    f. Pa has had enough time to start a business and close it to open his garage.
    g. Ma and Pa speak Japanese mostly.
    h. Cal, Rinko, and Jijo do not speak Japanese (maybe a little).
    i. Cal is at the University (he must be at least 18 years old).
    j. Cal was named after the state of California because his parents were so happy to be there.
    k. Rinko is almost 12.
    l. Jijo is 9.
    m. Ma came over to America to marry Pa.

    6) After students finish the book and timeline, ask the question again, what made the Tsujimura’s feel they needed to adapt and in what ways did they adapt. This can be answered in their journals.
    Follow-up Activities
    Read about another family that immigrated and discuss what immigration is. The "Dear America" series is great for this. Other great books are:
    The Memory Coat - by Elvira Woodruff
    When Jessie Came Across the Sea - by Amy Hest

    Other Activities:
    1) Can you think about a person who influenced your life the way Aunt Waka influenced Rinko’s life. Write a story in your writer’s notebook about this person.

    2) Create your own Jar of Dreams (maybe not with money) but put papers with what your dreams are in this jar so you never forget them. Put inspirational quotes in so you never feel like Rinko did when she felt because of her ethnicity that she could never accomplish her dream of becoming a teacher. Remind yourself that you can do whatever you want if you work hard enough. There are no limits.
    Cross-Curriculum Ideas
    You can easily adapt this to Social Studies with any time period in history.
    In Maryland we study the Chesapeake Bay. Students can create a timeline for the science and social studies units for how over time the bay has become more polluted. People are recently cleaning it up. Use a timeline to document the bay over time.
    Downloadable Worksheets
    Mac users: To download, ctrl-click on the worksheet and choose "save link to disk"
  • Blank Timeline made in Tool Factory Word Processor
  • Related Lesson - Comparing Cultures
  • Related Lesson - Historical Fiction
    Tessa Weiss
    4th Grade Teacher
    Georgian Forest Elementary School
    3100 Regina Drive
    Silver Spring MD 20906
    Phone: 301-460-2170 Fax: