Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Clock Crazy!

Okay, so I'm not really crazy about clocks. It just drives me crazy that many upper elementary students (and even high school according to my 16 year old son) can't read clocks! This is something I've seen get progressively worse each year. I'm not blaming the previous teachers of these kiddos, but rather the fact that its easier to read a digital clock. And let's face it, most kiddos now have cell phones or ipods and don't wear watches. My students will instinctively look at the digital time on the computers or microwave before trying to figure out the time on the analog clock in the front of the room. Because of this little set back, students really struggle with calculating elapsed time.

So, how do I fix this?!?!

Here's my plan:  
1. Elapsed Time Videos. We actually did them this year and it was such fun and a great learning opportunity! Here's a link to watch if you're interested. I stole borrowed this idea from my friend Cara over at Teaching My Calling
2. Wear Watches! I know how I learned to tell time--by constantly looking at my watch. So, instead of buying my kids water bottles at the beginning of the year, I plan to hit the Dollar Tree this summer and rack up on analog watches for the kiddos. The plan is to give them one bonus point on their math test for each day they wear their watch. I know this doesn't force them to actually use it, but if they're wearing it, chances are they'll use it.
3. Cover the microwave clock. I realize they could still look at the computer digital times, but those are tiny and many of the kiddos can't make them out. If they have to work to read the digital clock, maybe its easier just to look at their spiffy new watches!
4. Make time activities a part of each day. I plan to randomly call out questions such as "How many minutes until PE?" and "What time will ___ end if we have ___ minutes left?" I want to make a game out of it so it will be exciting, but I also want the kids to realize that this is a real world life skill.

Well, there you have it...my take on how to hopefully stop some of the clock craziness, at least in my little corner of the world. Do you have this issue where you teach? What are some ideas you used (or plan to use)? I'd love to hear them!


  1. You are so right about older kids not being able to read clocks! Elapsed time is a nightmare. :)

    Thank goodness I don't teach math! I know that's NOT what you wanted to hear!

    Those ideas all sounded great!


  2. This is so true! We play "Freeze Time". When I call that out, they must look at the clock (no digital time allowed)and tell me the time. This has helped and they love it!

    I am your blogs newest follower. I would love for you to come and visit me when you get the chance. =)

    Let's not even get started on adults counting change at the store!

    Heather's Heart

  3. Great idea, Heather! I'll definitely try that, and stop by your blog as well. As for the change deal, I totally get it. I used to be a cashier during college...

  4. You have that correct - so many still have troubles with it! Some great ideas! Thanks for linking up at my 5-Star Blogger Challenge!

    The Organized Classroom Blog



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