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Teaching Students to Tell Time:
Three Resources for Busy Teachers

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Return to It's About Time: Teaching Students to Tell Time

Subjects

  • Mathematics:
    Applied Math
  • Mathematics:
    Measurement

Grades

  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

Three activity sheets help develop and reinforce students' clock/telling-time skills.

Objectives

Students will

  • develop time-telling skills, one skill at a time.
  • understand the connection between time on digital and analog (clock-face) clocks.

Keywords

Clock, time, telling time, digital, analog, minutes, seconds, hours, quick-tivity, measurement

Materials Needed

  • clock with hands (often called an analog clock) and a digital clock (optional)
  • three activity sheets (provided)
  • copier and transparency sheets to produce overhead transparencies for each work sheet (optional)

Lesson Plan

We live in a digital world. It used to be that telling time required a second language. No longer are kids required to translate the time on a clock face to hour:minute (hh:mm) form. Still, that is a skill that every student needs to have and so teachers need to teach it. The resources in this lesson will help you teach and reinforce that skill.

Teaching the skill of telling time is one that requires patience and planning. Skills must be carefully sequenced so students learn to tell time by the

  • hour, then
  • half hour, then
  • quarter hour (quarter past and quarter to), and finally
  • minute.

The resources below are intended to help you teach each of those skills. Once each skill is taught, the resources also can be used to reinforce those skills. It is good to vary the use of these resources with other kinds of reinforcement, such as flash cards, additional work sheets, and spur-of-the-moment "quick-tivity" activities.

If you use a daily math reinforcement activity sheet -- a sheet that provides students with practice in the math skills they have mastered -- as part of your daily routine, that sheet should include a daily clock activity; for example, a clock face for which students must provide the time in hh:mm format (e.g., 6:15) or in words (quarter past 6).

Telling Time transparency
Print this resource and copy it onto a transparency for whole-class or group practice. Use an overhead projector to display the transparency on a screen or the classroom chalk or white board.

  • If you display the transparency on a board, simply write a time (e.g., 6:15) in the windows of the digital clock. Then have a student come forward to draw on the board the hands that show that time on the clock face. Ask the rest of the class for feedback. Did the student draw the clock correctly? Wipe off the transparency and present another time for the next student to draw.

  • For a different kind of practice, draw a clock face and have students write the correct time in the digital clock windows.

Draw or Write the Time work sheet
Once you have done the class/group activity suggested above, use this work sheet to provide students with individual practice writing digital times and/or drawing clock faces. Following are some suggested ways for using the work sheet:

  • A good way to begin using the work sheet -- and to reinforce skills as you develop them sequentially -- is to provide each student with a copy of the work sheet. Use the transparency to present a time in either digital or analog (clock-face) form. Have students copy that time onto the face of the digital or analog clock beside the number 1, and then have them provide that time in the other format. Then use the transparency to present digital or analog clock 2

  • Create a transparency from the Draw or Write the Time student work sheet, and provide a variety of clock faces or digital clock times for students to copy. For each clock face, students must provide the digital form of the time. For each digital time, they must draw a clock face showing that time. (The first time you use this sheet, you might present one time at a time and check student work as you go. Eventually you will be able to present a full sheet of clocks and allow students to work independently to complete the sheet.)

  • Print a copy of the work sheet to use as a master copy. Write a variety of digital times and/or draw a variety of clock faces directly onto the copy of the master. Make copies and provide one for each student to complete.

  • Use the Draw or Write the Time work sheet to tailor individual work sheets for students or groups of students who need practice in specific time-telling skills.

Match the Times activity sheet
Once students have used the Draw or Write the Time work sheet above, you can use this additional activity sheet to assess their skills. Simply print the Match the Times page and use it to create a matching activity. Draw hands on the blank analog clock faces to show a variety of times, write those times at random in each of the digital clock windows, and ask students to draw a line connecting the matching times. This activity can be done as you develop students time-telling skills (telling time by the hour first, then by the half hour, and so on), as a mastery test for students who have been taught all time-telling skills, or as an occasional reinforcement activity to ensure that students do not lose the skills they have learned. The activity sheet also could be copied onto a transparency for whole-class or small-group practice or review, or as a tool for having students correct their own work.

For additional reinforcement, see the following Education World lesson plans:
Telling Time BINGO
Telling Time (A Hands-On Activity)

Assessment

To test students' skills as you develop them, or to test mastery of all time-telling skills, use the Draw or Write the Time work sheet or the Match the Times activity sheet to create an assessment activity.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
GRADES Pre-K - 2
NM-MEA.PK-2.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.PK-2.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.3-5.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.6-8.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements

MATHEMATICS: Communications
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-COMM.PK-12.1 Organize and Consolidate Their Mathematical Thinking Through Communication
NM-COMM.PK-12.4 Use the Language of Mathematics to Express Mathematical Ideas Precisely

MATHEMATICS: Representation
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas

Find more activities for teaching basic math skills in Education World's Math Subject Center. There you will find lesson plans for teaching math skills by using the phone book and many more fun activities.

Click to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, It's About Time: Teaching Students to Tell Time.

Originally published 05/09/2003
Last updated 05/25/2009

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