Two ways to create timelines from books

On Sunday evening a reader of my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter answered with a question about creating timelines. She was looking for suggestions for a timeline tool that her 10th grade students could use to create a timeline based on books they’ve read. This is something I’ve done with some of my own students in the past, so I had a few suggestions at the ready.

Timeline JS is my first choice for creating a timeline based on a book. I’ve been using Timeline JS for almost a decade to create timelines with text, images, videos, and links. Timelines created with Timeline JS can only separate events by a minute because you can specify the date and time of each event in the timeline. Watch this video for a brief demonstration of using Timeline JS.

Using one of Canva’s timeline templates is my second choice for creating a timeline from a book. While it doesn’t support as many media types as Timeline JS, you could argue that the aesthetics of Canva timelines are much better than those of Timeline JS. Here’s my demo how to create a timeline in canva.

By the way, the image in this post is a photo of the cover of a fun book titled The Excellent Adventure of Harry Truman. The book follows Harry Truman’s steps as he drove from his home in Missouri to New York and back in the summer of 1953.

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