ESL-Library’s teaching theme for November is:
Teaching English Through History
“Study the past if you would define the future.” ~ Confucius
Teaching students about historical events can get them excited about learning. The trick is to bring history to life and make it more tangible than a textbook offers. Students need to experience history, not just read about it. One way students can get a perspective about a historical event is to create a timeline. Timelines act as graphic organizers that help learners categorize, sequence, and analyze the events and people that create that particular history. Timelines also help learners to chunk difficult language and summarize in their own words how they understand the history they read about.
Below are various free multimedia online tools that your students can use to create timelines of any historical event.
Capzles– Create multimedia timelines on the web or on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Add pdfs, videos, music, and images to accompany dates and events.
MyHistro– Create multimedia timelines on the web or on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Each event can be labeled on a map and have text, pictures and video added.
Tiki-Toki– Create multimedia timelines on the web with text, images (Flickr supported), and video (choose from YouTube or Vimeo).
Timetoast– This is embeddable in a blog or wiki and allows students to add text and images. This tool is very simple to use and allows for longer descriptions when clicked.
TimeRime– Another embeddable timeline that supports events with text, images, music, and more. Has zooming features and other cool features for educators.
Timeglider– Create multimedia timelines with text, links, and images to accompany dates and events. Has zooming features, allows embedding, and the ability to create legends.
Xtimeline– Create multimedia timelines with text and images to accompany dates and events. Allows collaborative timeline creation and embedding. Under the interactive timeline is room to add links and more information.
Vuvox– mix, create and blend your videos, photos and music to accompany events. Allows embedding and linking to other resources.
Thinglink– This is more a multimedia poster but students can add an image of a historical event then create dates that are linked to multimedia resources.
Animaps– Create an animated video timeline of a map that pops up with text.
A Few Activities and Ideas
Creating a multimedia timeline is just part of the process of bringing that historical event to life, but students can experience more while researching and collecting resources to include in their timeline. Below are a few tips and ideas to ensure your learners get the most out of the process.
- Students can interview someone who is tied to the event. They can interview someone from a museum or a relative or conduct a Skype interview with a person located somewhere else.
- Students can include video or audio excerpts of people who experienced the event. Find primary resources on sites like History.com, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and StoryCorps audio interviews.
- Students can add primary writing excerpts and quotes to their timeline such as images or pdfs of handwritten letters, poetry, newspaper articles and diary entries. In this post, Richard Byrne lists 9 websites to find all types of primary resources.
Digital Reenactments of Events
- Students can create a digital comic of the event. ToonDoo and Creaza have libraries of historical figures to choose from.
- Students can create a video or multimedia story of the event using a tool like Primary Access that gives students access to images, letters, and primary resources from the Library of Congress and other places. GoAnimate and Xtranormal also have a library of characters and backgrounds that students can choose from to create a video reenactment.
- Students can create a talking avatar with Voki that has a library of historical figures to choose from. Students can use their voices to make the avatar speak or type in the text.
Geography of the Events
- Students can include links to virtual tours of the event. Find a good list of historical virtual tours in this article, Teaching History with Technology: Virtual Tours.
- Students can include links to maps or images of what the area looked like when the event took place. Find historical maps here, interactive maps with timelines here, and animated historical maps here.
More Great Websites and Resources
Find more ideas of how to effectively teach history by visiting the resources below:
- Webinar Recording: Teaching Language Learners with Timelines
- 28 Tech Tools to Bring Out the Story in History
- Famous People and Famous Things lesson plans and more from ESL Library
What other ideas do you have?
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