I found a very simple timeline creator that’s free to use, and has impressive literacy results. What’s ideal about this creator is that students have to really think in order to have a good timeline. An interesting component is that the website lets you save your work even though it does not run by log in and student accounts. You save it as an .rwt file, and when you return to the website you open the work and can continue. When finished you can save it as more of a traditional .pdf file.Here is a link to the creator:
It’s a great web based timeline creator and students can save their work to finish later. When complete they may download the file as a pdf. It’s simple and easy to use, but what’s ideal is teachers can really help students process information and think. I have used it a few different ways, the first time I created the timeline but it was not in the right order. Students moved the timeline into what they thought was the correct order. Then they read and highlighted text, and changed their timeline accordingly. This was a great intro to the program, before students got to create their timeline on their own.
This is how I am using it currently to help student get the main idea of the text.
- Students use text and highlight what they feel are the important steps in the text. For example, we used an article about the Elephant Angels in China. This is a group of young students who are against the Ivory trade. We used Actively Learn to highlight the text into a series of steps.
- Then we created a 3 column chart in Microsoft Word with the headings Steps/Full Description/Short Summary. We used Word because it easily counts characters, which is vital for the Timeline program. Timeline has a few different fields but there is a limit of 50 characters in the short summary and 200 characters in the full description.
- We copied and pasted the steps that we highlighted from the article into the full description. The description was often larger than 200 characters so students had to widdle down the information so it still made sense.
- The tricky part was creating the short summaries. Students were forced to figure out the key idea of the step so that it fit in 50 characters and still gave the main idea of the step. It was not an easy task, but it forced students to use critical thinking skills.
- After they have the chart laid out, they go to the timeline creator and copy and paste the information into the fields. Since they have already spent time with the character size, this is an easy process.
- Then students enjoyed finding images for their timeline. In the end they created a simple, yet very rich timeline which shows their comprehension of the text. This is why I like this timeline so much! Ease of use!!!
Future Step: This text was provided by myself, students will be doing the same process on a topic that they are interested in, selecting the text, marking the steps and creating the timeline.