Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why I Teach Time to the minute FIRST

Why I teach time to the minute first
Hi there!  It's Hannah from The Classroom Key bringing you a tip for Tipster Thursday!

After working with second graders for a few years I realized something about teaching students how to tell time.  It's actually easier to teach time to the minute first.  GASP!  Stick with me for a minute. (haha! a minute...ok, moving on ; )

Think about the changes that have been made in recent years regarding teaching addition and subtraction with regrouping.  We've decided that we don't want kids to just carry the one or cross out the tens because their teacher told them to.  We want students to really understand what's happening when they add and subtract.  So now we're teaching strategies like partial sums, open number lines, compensation, etc.

Now think about the way we teach kids to tell time.  They learn time to the hour.  Then we teach them that if the big hand is pointing to the 6, then we say "thirty".  Do they understand why?  Maybe, maybe not.  We do the same thing with quarter after and quarter 'til.  If they forget that the 6 represents thirty minutes, they have no way to help themselves tell the time.  And if I could get paid $1 for every way kids mess up the counting by 5s for the minutes...

Here's another way:

1.  Make sure they understand that the small hand points to the hour. (second graders probably know this already.)
2.  Tell them that each small mark around the clock represents one minute.  We start at the top of the clock and the big numbers written on the clock do not actually match up with the number of minutes.
3.  Practice reading a few clocks with them by first finding the hour, then finding the minutes by counting each little tick mark.
4.  After a few times say, "Phew, it takes forever to count up all these minutes.  Can anyone think of a faster way?"
5.  Hopefully someone will see that you can count by fives, using the clock numbers as benchmarks.   Heck, maybe even throw in a quick counting by 5s review right before you teach this lesson.  If no one makes the connection, try to make it really obvious the next time you count out minutes.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5....6, 7, 8, 9, 10...

Now, even if kids get confused about or forget the trick, they can still always go back to counting each minute one at a time.  Chances are, the tedious counting will cause them to remember the counting by 5s short cut rather quickly.

Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome thinking! I will try this with my third graders who still need work on telling time.