What it is: Here is today is an interesting little web app that helps students visualize time in a new way. Students start out by seeing a square and a title that says “here is today” with the current date. When students click “okay” at the bottom, they are taken to a visual of the next step in. Students can see where the day is falling within the month, the year, the century, the millennium, the epoch, the period, the era, the eon, the earth, life, oxidation, fish, insects, reptiles, mammals, birds, humans, and the universe. Each stage of the graphic has an arrow pointing out how today (whatever day that happens to be) compares in the grander scheme of things. Pretty cool!
How to integrate Here is Today into the classroom: Here is Today is an outstanding way to help students understand where they are in place in time. They can see where they are and then compare it to the larger history of the world and universe. Obviously, this is a natural fit into a history or biology class. Here is Today would also make a great object lesson in math and be great for studying comparison and scale. It would also make for a great philosophical discussion as we realize just how minute the moment we are living in really is.
Here is Today is a great site for students to explore and inquire about independently. What questions arise as they explore the site? After students have investigated and come up with their own lines of inquiry, gather back as a classroom community and discuss those lines of inquiry and the thinking that led to them. If you happen to follow the IB Primary Years Program, this fits in great to “Where are we in place and time” inquiry.
Here is Today would also be a useful visual on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer where a class can observe and explore together during discussion. The way that the site compares time is seriously smart.
Here is Today could launch an interesting creative writing assignment. Invite each student to explore the site and to choose a view. The story should be written based on the point of view and time that they chose. This could be a new way to explore setting, time and theme.
Are you using Here is Today in your classroom? Share your experience in the comments below!