Over the years, I have seen students suffer persistent confusion over the difference between the cardinal (counting numbers) and ordinal (numbers that place things in rank or order) numbers historians, and therefore social studies teachers, use to name and number centuries. It goes without saying, I assume, that a lack of understanding of this basic means of understanding historical time leads to confusion about the scope, sequence and, indeed, sweep of history. Understanding this discourse is by any standard, I should think, necessary for any basic understanding of what is going on in a social studies classroom.
Yet, I have not seen this way of understanding historical time taught explicitly in my thirteen years as a social studies/English/special education teacher.
So, fresh from Mark’s Text Terminal for the New Year, here is a complete lesson plan on teaching the ordinal centuries. Under this link you’ll find a lesson plan, two context clues for the noun phrase cardinal number and the adjective ordinal (and you may want to take a look at the Focus on One Word Worksheets Users’ Manual to work with those), and a scaffolded worksheet.
As always, if you find this material useful, and especially if you’ve adapted it further, I’d like to hear about it–likewise if you have any suggestions for improving it.