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how toHow To: Make a Timeline With Pages


For decades, teachers have used a variety of software options to create classroom materials. For many educators, that has meant using a suite of programs for desktop computers. Now that mobile apps have evolved to the point where they can offer similar functionality at a fraction of the price, educators may want to explore alternate technology for accomplishing classroom tasks.

The EducationWorld How To series offers simple instructions that help educators use app technology to simplify life in the classroom. See more How To articles.

pages appThe App: Pages

The Goal: Have students use Pages to create a timeline detailing any series of events.

The Steps: 

Before launching the app, teachers will want to decide which series of events will be chronicled in the timeline. The possibilities are infinite, from historical events to fictional ones. This exercise can be done as a class (involving one timeline) or individually (with each student creating a different timeline).

Once the outline for the exercise is settled, begin by launching Pages. Open a new, blank document and tap the + in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen to open the “insert” tool.

You’ll find four choices; Media, Tables, Charts and Shapes. Tap Shapes to view the types of graphics available. Swipe left or right to scroll through the available shapes. From the available styles, choose the line you like the best.

Tapping on a selection will make it appear in the document with a set of on-screen controls engaged. These controls allow the user to manipulate the line. Using these controls, extend the line so that it is long enough to accommodate the number of events in your timeline.

henry viii and wivesAt this point, close Pages and launch Safari. It is important that the iPad be connected to the Internet via WiFi or a cellular connection. Browse the Internet for appropriate images that represent the events chronicled in the timeline. If the timeline examines the wives of Henry VIII, search for portraits of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Catherine of Aragon, etc. Likewise, if the timeline involves the bombing of Pearl Harbor, find images of the Arizona.

Once a suitable image is identified, tap and hold on the image. A menu will appear asking if you’d like to save the image. Tap “Save,” and the image will be saved to your iPad’s photo gallery. Once you have collected all of the images in your gallery, you can re-launch Pages.

You will be able to view your line. Tapping anywhere on the document will bring up the cursor and keyboard. Type in the title of the timeline. Now, go back and tap on the line you’ve just typed and hold your finder there for a second.

A toolbar will appear and offer the choices of Select, Select All, Paste and Insert. Choose “Select” by tapping it once, and you will see that a portion of the line will be highlighted. Tap and drag the corners of the highlighted area so that the entire title is highlighted.

With the title highlighted, tap the paintbrush icon located in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen. A large menu will appear that offers a number of stylistic options. From here, you may select a font, as well as bolding, italics, underlining and/or justification. Choose a font and size appropriate for the title, and then select the centered justification.

With the title sized and placed, tap the end of the line so that the cursor appears just after the last letter in the title. Tap “Return” on the keyboard several times to create some space between the title and the name and date fields you will create next.

Type “Name” and enter a series of underscores to create a line on which students can write their names. Repeat the highlighting technique used for the title, so that the word “Name” and the entire underscore line are highlighted. Tap the paintbrush icon again to bring up the style menu. Choose a font size that is smaller than the title’s, and then select the left justification.

timelinieOnce the name field is in place, tap the end of the underscore line and enter a few spaces. Now you can type “Date” and a series of underscores to create a line on which students write the date. The font and size of the date line should be the same as those of the name line. If they are not, simply repeat the style actions.

With the date line in the same font and size as the name line, place the cursor just in front the “D” in “Date” and tap the spacebar so that the date line ends at the right margin of the document. You are now ready to bring your timeline to life.

You may need to adjust the placement of the primary line on the page. Tap and hold the line to engage the manipulation controls. With these controls turned on, you can move the line anywhere on the page. Place it in the center of the page with ample room above and below for the images you’ve just collected.

Tap the + in the upper, right-hand corner of the app and choose Media. You will see that Pages offers you access to all of the media files on your iPad. If this is the first time you’re attempting to insert a media file, you will be asked to grant Pages permission to access your files. Simply tap “Yes.”

Scroll through the photo gallery until you locate the image of the first event in your timeline. Tap it, and it will appear on the document with the manipulation controls engaged. Tap and drag it to the leftmost position, just above the line. You may need to adjust the size of the image so that it both fits on the line and is large enough to be effective.

With the manipulation controls still engaged, tap and hold any of the four corners of the image. Dragging in any direction will change the image’s size in that direction. Make the necessary adjustments before moving on to the next image.

You can change the appearance of your images by tapping them once to highlight them. Next, tap the paintbrush icon in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen to activate the Style menu. From here, you can add borders and effects to each image.

Repeat the process just outlined for the remaining images, going in chronological order. The second image you place should be on the bottom of the line. The third image will be placed on the top. Keep alternating, with odd-numbered images on the top of the line and even-numbered images on the bottom to create symmetry.

To create smaller lines that attach your images to their place on the main timeline, repeat the same process you used to create your main line.

Now all you need to add is the text that describes each image. Tap the + in the upper, right-hand corner of the screen and choose “Shapes” from the menu. Tap the “T” that appears in the square in the upper, left-hand corner of the menu. A text box will appear on your document. Double-tapping inside the text box will bring up your cursor and keyboard.

Enter the date, or the year in which the first event on your timeline took place, followed by a brief description. Using the manipulation tools, adjust the size of the text box appropriately. Then tap and hold the text box and drag it to the image it describes, placing it either above or below the image. Repeat this process for the remaining images.

The timeline is now created. Once it is complete, students do not have to “Save” or “Save As.” Simply closing the app keeps the document saved until they are ready to print.

iPads have the ability to print wirelessly to printers that are connected to a WiFi network. Tapping the print button will bring up a list of printers on which to print the table. If the classroom is not connected to a WiFi network or does not have a wireless printer, students can email the document.

Tapping the email button will bring up a small menu that offers a choice of the file format in which to send the document. Choose Word, and then tap “Send.” The quiz will arrive as a Word file that may be opened with Word and printed to a hard-lined printer.


Related resources

Timelines: A Timeless Teaching Tool

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Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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