The use of graphic organizers in classrooms have been shown to be an effective practice for some time now. Graphic organizers can be anything from a Venn diagram or KWL chart to an interactive web based support. These types of supports help students make previously invisible connections visible. Now before you get too excited, there isn’t any evidence that I am aware of that says if you walk into a classroom, hand out a “graphic organizer” worksheet and walk away that you will see a bump in achievement. The goal here is to increase engagement, not bore kids to death.
So keeping engagement in mind, there is a particular type of graphic organizer that you may find beneficial: Time-lines. Commonplace in many classrooms, time lines are created to show events, outline a story, develop a family tree and much more. While this can all be done with paper and pencil or arts and crafts, web based software now allows students to not only add much more information to time lines, but also collaborate on them with other students, embed in blogs and forward out to others.
A few sites to check out that allow you to develop these types of time lines for free include: