Recently I created a timeline for the third grade students at my school that helped illustrate the time span in history of the first settlers in Jamestown to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. It was a fine timeline that involved cutting and pasting, which can be enjoyable for many students, but I only created this activity because I lacked the time to create what I really wanted for my students- a technology based timeline using a web 2.0 tool that would be engaging, provide active learning, and even promote collaboration. I did not have the time to find the tool, learn it for myself, and then share with my students. Now, I am making it a point to do just that and share it with other great teachers that have similar ideas here on Classroom 2.0.
My searches for strong timeline makers resulted with dipity.com as a popular one. Sarah W. Caron, Education World Social Media Editor, writes in her 2011 dipity.com review “dipity proves just challenging enough for student use.” Mark Krynsky creator of Lifestream Blog shares in his 2008 blog that dipity “allows you to create both the prettiest and visually functional timeline I have yet to see on the web”. In a list of timeline makers on the Web 2.0 in Education website, dipity.com is ranked number one out of seventeen other web tools. However, if dipity.com is not the tool for you, there are plenty of other free tools that can be found at gotoweb2.0 such as xtimeline and capzeles. Personally, I wouldn’t spend too much time checking out every timeline maker available. My general rule is that I pick three to five web tools that sound good, briefly view each of them by spending about fifteen minutes in each, decide if it will match the purpose and grade level I plan to apply it towards, and try it out.
Dipity.com is age appropriate for third graders because it has enough bells and whistles that will impress the average eight to nine year old and creating the timeline and adding events are simple and quick to do. Each timeline event accommodates text, photos, links, and video as options. There are three different ways to view the timeline. Timeline mode allows the viewer to visually see selected dates plotted on a timeline. Flipbook mode allows the viewer to “flip” through each event as if viewing a slide show. List mode simply lists the events from the earliest dates to more current dates. As a teacher, viewing list mode will make it easy for assessment purposes. This tool is free and only requires an email to create an account. The website provides an option to change the settings from public to private, which I would do for my third grade students. To do this, go into the topic settings on the main page for the timeline you are working with.
I created a sample timeline for students to view based on dates that are found in their third grade Social Studies text. It was a quick and simple process. Creating the free account takes a matter of seconds. Once you are on your homepage, choose Create a Timeline. Enter a title, description, category, and picture (optional). Choose continue to add events. Each event will have a separate title, description, and date. Each event could also have an image, video, link, and map location added. Credit is given to photo images and videos by directly linking to each. Students will be able to locate images, appropriate websites, and videos. Students will need to make decisions about accurate and reliable sources of information. Shannon Bomar states in her article (2010) “educating students to think about information, to evaluate its origin and purpose, empowers them to make decisions about information and how it is best used and applied in their lives” (pg.75).
Creating a rubric to assess the completed timeline will be a simple and reliable form of assessment. I created a rubric through rubistar.com. Feel free to view it and use it if you can.
To view the sample timeline that I created, please see http://www.dipity.com/mfloro/Colonial-Times/.
Bomar, S. (2010). A School-Wide Instructional Framework for Evaluating Sources. Knowledge Quest, 38 (3), 73-75. Retrieved from website http://www.sonomavalleyhigh.org/home/CA49709534937256/.blogs/post16....
Caron, S. (2011). Site Review:Dipity. Education World. Retrieved from website http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/arvices/site_reviews/dipity.shtml.
Krynsky, M. (2008). Dipity Creates Visually Interactive Lifestreaming Timelines. Retrieved from website http://lifestreamblog.com/dipity-creates-visually-interactive-lifes....
I like the idea of using timelines in the classroom. As I teach the CCSS in my classroom, I am always looking for ways to integrate multimedia into what we learn. I plan on using this for my next project on the Revolutionary War. I think I would use this in my classroom for all of our reading as well. It would be a great way to compare the settings of the various stories whether they be literary or informational.
Wow! Thanks for sharing this teaching tip! I am very happy to learn about the web 2.0 tool, Dipity! This sounds like a great resource for me to use in my classroom as well. I am teaching 4th grade for the first time this year and in my state, 4th graders are tested in social studies! I feel completely lost at times with social studies because our "curriculum" (if you can call it that) is very weak! We have very broad standards that don't necessarily tell you what you should be teaching or what will be tested. But I agree with you, students usually lack a mental timeline of events. Using Dipity seems like a great tool to help them picture the events that have transpired over the course of our country's history. I love that you can add text or pictures to help make the timeline more engaging. It also seems very user friendly! Thanks again for the tip!
Thanks for sharing! This year I have been trying to implement technology into my lessons more and this sounds like a great opportunity. I teach 5th grade and also cover timelines with my students. I had my students create a personal timeline on their life, on paper, but it sounds like this would be a neat learning experience for my students to use. You mentioned this site was age-appropriate for 3rd graders, do you think it would still be appropriate for 5th graders?