Teaching Time

We’ve been doing a telling time unit the past week or so, and I thought I’d hit a few of the highlights of the unit.  First of all, teaching time can be pretty boring.  How many ways can a student practice either using a manipulative clock to show a time, or reading clocks to tell time?  Finding a hook to reach the students is essential to keeping the students engaged.  Here are a few of the ways I incorporated technology into our time unit.

I started the unit by teaching my students a really specific way of telling time in a step by step fashion.  To help clarify the procedure, I used a great screen casting app called Educreations.  I created a quick two minute video that detailed the steps and posted it on my class webpage.  This allows my kids to access it if they need to, but more importantly allows my students’ parents to see exactly what the procedure looks like.  Check out the instructional video here: Telling Time to the Five Minutes.

I also used two apps on our class set of iPods (though I could use them on the iPads as well).  The first is a very simple time app good for beginners.  Wooly Wormies: Tell Time Lite has several practice games including a parent/child game, a change the analog clock game, and my favorite a matching game.  I had my students practice matching digital times to analog clocks showing times to the quarter hour.  My first group of students used this app to self check and practice their skills.

A much more in depth app is Mathtappers: Clockmaster.  The app has three difficulty levels: time to the quarter hour, time to the five minutes, and time to the minute.  Players either change a digital clock to reflect the time given on an analog clock, or turn the hands on an analog clock to match a digital clock.  After ten chances, the app gives a score out of fifty points.  This makes an easy informal assessment grade if you need it.  The app stores information for up to four students per device, making this a good progress monitoring app as well.

Overall, I was really just looking for some quick ways to hook my students into a unit that can at times seem boring.  The only way to learn to tell time is to practice the skill repeatedly.  With digital clocks making analog clocks outdated, it’s even more difficult to engage the students.  These few activities brought a little life to what could definitely have been a dry unit.