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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Common Core Standards for Telling Time: Grade 1

Have your first graders started working on time?  I just introduced time to my first graders a week ago and they are already doing a great job!

The Common Core standard for telling time can be found in the Measurement & Data section.

Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.

It is short and to the point.  First graders need to tell time to the hour and half hour.  Here are a few quick and easy ways I get my students to meet this standard

Introducing the Floor Clock (Time Mat)

I have several Judy clocks and they are great for whole group instruction.  However, when I really want to get little kids engaged in talking about the clock, I pull out my Time Mat.  This is a huge clock that folds conveniently in a box but is big and kids can gather around it.

I start by laying the clock on the floor and asking kids what they notice.  (I do not attache the hands prior to doing this.)  I have them share their idea with a partner and then we share as a whole group.

Next I put the hour hand on the clock or have one of the students do it.

A student attaches the hour hand to the time mat
Next we talk about what the hour hand looks like at 6:00, 11:00 5:00, etc.  We get to the big idea that when it is something o'clock, the hour hand is pointing right at the number.

Next, I show them that sometimes the hour hand is right between two numbers.  We talk about this being half an hour and being half way between two numbers.  My students have a good conceptual understanding of half at this point in the year because we have already done our fraction unit.

Students see just the hour hand and it is pointing in the middle of two numbers

Next we attach the minute hand and use both hands to show what time to the hour and half an hour look like.

First I make times and the student tells or writes the time.  Then I say show me a time and the students make it on the time mat

Next we do the same think with time to the half hour
This lesson up to this point takes about 20 minutes.  Then we work on other things or go to our math stations.

Moving from Whole Group Practice to Independent or Partner Practice

Over the next few days, I might use the Judy clock or the time mat again to model times or have students model times.  After several days of this as whole group instruction, I give each student their own mini geared Judy clock and I have them build times as I name them.  The geared mini clocks are more expensive than the non-geared one but I think they are completely worth it!  They work like a real clock and really help students understand that the hands move together.

Practicing at Math Stations

After I feel kids are getting proficient with this, I introduce a telling time number puzzle that becomes one of our math stations.  Kids are given digital and analog times and asked to match them.  The puzzles are great because they are self-checking.  If they don't fit together, the student does not have the right answer.

Students work on telling time number puzzles during math stations
A student completes all the puzzles at the telling time work station

Checking in

After a day or two of kids having the chance to play with the time puzzles and practice alone and with a partner, I give them this quick formative assessment that comes with the time puzzles.  It lets me see who has the concept and who needs to be pulled to my table during math stations for some extra instruction and practice.  It is very easy for me to sort these into piles of kids who get it and kids who don't.  The kids who don't get it are added to my list of intervention groups and get extra instruction during math station time over the next few days.

Here is a student who seems to understand time to the half hour but has some major confusion over time to the hour.  This student will be part of my intervention group!

This student clearly needs more instruction! 

Most of the students' papers look like this.  A quick and easy way for me to see that they are getting the big ideas and their practice is paying off.
A few other things about telling time

If you are looking for some great activities for telling time to the five minutes, check out this new product from the Math Coach's Corner.

A great book for telling time to the hour is Bats Around the Clock

What are your favorite activities for teaching time?  


  1. This is similar to how I teach math but I don't have that big clock mat or those clock puzzles. I often have the kids make their own clock too, but to be honest I'm not sure how helpful that is. The Judy clocks are great though, aren't they? Thanks again for sharing your fabulous ideas.