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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Measuring Time

It is funny to me that we have talked about the calendar this year and still kids need help making the link between measuring time in seconds, minutes, hours, etc., to measuring time with a calendar.  Actually, it was difficult at first helping kids see that seconds, minutes, hours, etc., were types of measurement.  It is also funny how something seemingly concrete becomes abstract the more you try to explain it to six year-olds. 

What I don't understand, is why I seem to be the only one I know looking at the clock in a certain way.  At first, I just thought the teachers around me looked at it different.  There must be someone looking at it the way I do.  Well, if there is, I haven't met them and it is starting to make me question myself.  But it really is the only way it makes sense to me, so I am going to share it with you:

Clocks are two clocks on top of each other.

I played a Brainpop Jr. video (I usually LOVE Brainpop) about time yesterday and I couldn't stand the way the girl was explaining that the minute hand is pointing at the 3, so it means 15 minutes.  Um, no.  I can't get some kids to understand that two letters make one sound (in the beginning of the year anyway), let alone tell them that 3 actually means 15!!!!!!   No.  The minute hand is not pointing at the 3.  It is pointing PAST the 3 to the 15 minute mark on the other side.  

I also don't understand why even the common core is saying that first graders should only have to learn to the half and quarter hour.  Teach them how it works and it will make sense.  The way I taught it was to have kids write their numbers around a blank circle with tick marks on it from 0 to 59.  We did this 6 times until everyone could do it without telling them it was a clock.  When I introduced the clock to them, they were used to reading numbers around a circle, because they had to write them that way.  

Anyway, I created a time booklet that you can find at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here:  My Book About Time or you can get it for FREE:

I would love for you to follow my blog and visit my TPT store and follow me there as well.  If you do that, send me an email at and I will email you the MY BOOK ABOUT TIME for free.   

The booklet goes from years to seconds and includes an open ended assessment.  If you download the preview file, it is the complete booklet.  It took me a week to get the graphics the way that I wanted them, so I would love to pass on the time savings to you.  It has been especially hard since we just lost an hour.   I don't know about you, but I could not afford to lose that hour!

If you just want to use the clock template I created to help me explain the two clock theory, click on the picture below.  It is free.

I hope that I can persuade everyone to look at the clock the way I do.  I would love it if they changed that Brainpop video.  Maybe I will email them my idea.



  1. I absolutely love this idea! I'm a pre-service teacher looking for ideas of how to teach time to the minute and you have inspired me. I didn't look at the clock like you do but now I can totally see it and this makes complete sense to me! thanks so much for this wonderful tip!!!!