Thursday, March 31, 2011


It is important for students to be able to read and make timelines. My third graders begin the year by making a timeline of their life.  I am very excited to find some resources that will make next year’s batch interactive and publishable.

Consumers of Timelines
There are many pre-made interactive timelines available for students to gain an understanding of how to read and interact with one. Teachers who have access to interactive whiteboards may find this an engaging way to teach. Students could explore on their own, find information for a research task or search for items on a timeline scavenger hunt.  Here are examples of a few I found.

This gives lengthy historical context to subject areas such as Ancient and Modern History, English, Science, Art and Music. The British Library interactive timeline allows students to explore collection items chronologically, from medieval times to the present day. Simply choose the category to explore then view the image, video or transcript. You can print or download the information as a pdf file, if needed.

This is a pictorial history of NASA by decade from the 1950’s to today.  This one cannot be downloaded.

This is categorized into six themes of Franklin’s life and color coded to match the themes.  Although complex, this timeline includes excellent text, pictorial, audio and video snippets to accompany each aspect of his life.

Producers of Timelines
To really gain an understanding of how a timeline works, a student will also need to create one.  I reviewed the following seven timeline tools, in order to find one suitable for my students.  I used this rubric to assess them.  These are listed in order from the highest grade to the lowest. (Grade is out of 100%)

Preceden:  78%

Capzles:  78%

*Beedocs: 72%

Timetoast: 67%

Dipity: 67%

*I will be using Beedocs with my students.  My Internet access is not consistent and many sites are blocked through my school district’s firewall.  Although not free, Beedocs offers 5 licenses for $70.


  1. Hey Jenn, I have a colleague who is constantly handwriting timelines and needing me to type them up. These sites seem to be my answer to his timelines. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the idea of using timelines for assisting student with time management. Timelines to me, can really help the visual learners and other students in the class see how they should prioritize time in class and also show them what is coming up for them as well. I have also researched a timeline tool that I will post on my blog as well.