This is how I show students what number years mean and how they relate to each other. First we answer the vocabulary terms together and practice how centuries work since many students struggle with the fact that 19th Century means 1800's, etc. Then I give them time to plot the historical events on the timeline. We do things like marking 1 AD/BC together, and label which side AD, BC, BCE, CE of the center line is which. I usually give my students around 30 minutes in class to work on this (it will take most students more time than this so you can assign it as homework, or I just have them turn as much practice as they finished).
I also included what I have my students write down for each term.