Creating and reading a timeline is a skill introduced in elementary grades. For a second grader her first timeline might be autobiographical, which is a good way for students to begin understanding what a timeline is – a linear graphic representation of major events in chronological order. Students are exposed to more timelines as they study historical events, biographies, and cultural trends. The information can seem like a cluster of dates and facts. But delve deeper and timelines reveal relationships between sequences of events to show shifts and changes from one occurrence to the next.

Turning the timeline format from pencil to digital is easy with online timeline generators. They make learning interactive, engaging, and provide students another way to report research information.

Capzles  is a free timeline creation tool that’s fairly easy to use. It allows users to insert videos, music, blogs, photos, and documents to create a multimedia timeline or story.

Timetoast allows users to create a timeline in minutes. The look of the digital timeline is similar to a traditional drawn timeline – the layout is simple. Images and text can accompany each mark on the timeline. This allows users to include more information for explanations. The format can also be converted from timeline to a text version – dividing the information as a table.

Tips for starting a timeline:

  • Choose an event, process, or trend that has a strong chronological sequence.
  • Gather research information.
  • Write a short description of each event.
  • Include occurrences leading up to significant events.
  • Find images to match the descriptions.

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