SEL & Beyond: Self-Awareness Personal Timeline Strategy

SEL & Beyond: Self-Awareness Personal Timeline Strategy


Grades 3–12
Competencies addressed: Self-Awareness Social Awareness Relationship Skills 

"Timeline of My Life" Personal Timeline


Support students to identify and evaluate important events in their lives. This allows students the opportunity to share their story.



  • Show students a timeline example.
  • Explain to students that they will be creating a timeline of important events in their life. 
  • Explain that students only need to share information that they feel comfortable sharing.

SEL Sentence Frames

*These are suggested sentence frames. Feel free to differentiate for your students’ language proficiency levels.

Grades 3–5

“I started _____________ school.”

“When I was ______ years old, I ____________.”

Grades 6–12

“An important event in my life was when _________.”

“One of my favorite memories is ___________.”

Student Reflection

What did you learn about yourself in doing this activity?

What feelings did you experience completing your timeline?

Is there anything you’d like me to know about your timeline?

Opportunities for Differentiation

Support English Language Learners by allowing them to describe or label events in their first language.

Challenge students by using more specific vocabulary. 

Expand the lesson by having students write/share short stories about a milestone.

Gamify the lesson by incorporating math problems using age and dates.  

Integrate the arts by having students draw or act out milestones.

Extend lesson by having students set goals and create a timeline of their ideal future.

Adapt to online format by creating timeline digitally and using actual photos. 

Teachers’ Lounge

  • This has potential to be a high vulnerability activity. Make sure students feel safe and secure sharing this information. Emphasize that students should only include information they are comfortable sharing. 
  • Be sure to validate and affirm students’ home culture and language

See also:

Other SEL strategies, including:

SEL & Beyond: A Dynamic Introduction to Social and Emotional Learning and Its Core Competencies
Join SEL experts Trisha DiFazio and Allison Roeser for a free, 6-part SEL workshop!

Introduction to Social and Emotional Learning, the first chapter of this series.

The next chapters in this series:

Infobase’s SEL Packages for All Levels: Instant Trial Access
Access content supporting the five competencies of social and emotional learning.

About the Authors

Trisha DiFazio

Trisha DiFazio is an author, education consultant, and former adjunct professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California (USC). She is passionate about empowering teachers and students around Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Responsiveness, and Mindfulness.




Allison Roeser

Allison Roeser, Master of Health Science (MHS) and Professional Certified Coach (PCC), has almost two decades of experience working with leaders in education, child welfare, and social change. As an avid learner of mindfulness practices, Allison has seen firsthand the value of integrating self-awareness into professional and personal development.