What Time Is It?

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SWBAT accurately tell and write time to the nearest minute.

Big Idea

Telling time is an essential life skill.


10 minutes

Who can look at the clock in our room and tell me what time it is? What does the small hand represent? And the big hand? Why is telling time important?

When I think about a clock, sometimes it can be tough for me to tell which hand is pointing to which number, and what each number on the clock means for minutes. Today we are going to look more closely at the clock to make sure we know when we need to be at school, what time lunch is, recess is and when the end of the school day is!

I have printed out "Analog Clock Helpers" and placed them around my Labeled Wall Clock as a student resource.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

I give my students judy clocks to work with (but you can also hand make clocks with paper plates). I ask them questions about the clock so that have a common language around time and can practice together.


If the little hand points between the 1 and the 2, which hour are we still in?

If the minute hand points to the 12, what does that mean?

What do all of the little lines between each number stand for?

How can we skip count by 5th to make telling time to the nearest minute easier? 

Independent Exploration

25 minutes

Today we are going to create our own clocks, just like the judy clocks we used. It will help us when we create the time on an analog clock to match a digital clock time.

Students make the times listed on an activity sheet using their paper plate clock to help them (MP5). They then record the time on their clock recording sheets to match the clock.

Today I just want to build some fluency in telling time, as my students continue to struggle when the hour hand is between 2 numbers or when it is close to a new hour (i.e. 1:55 they interpret as 2:55 because the hour hand looks closer to the 2). For students who continue to struggle with this, I pull into a small group. I work closely with them on additional tools and strategies for identifying time accurately.

One tool that can be helpful is giving student a sheet of blank clocks and then highlighting the area that the hour and minute hand are pointing to. It helps students see when the hour hand has passed into a new hour, or when it is just close but still within the previous hour.


5 minutes

Wow, what awesome time telling skills you used today. Who can tell me something that they notice about telling time? What was something you got stuck on today? Tomorrow we are going to have some more fun with time, so make sure you remember what we talked about each time your eyes wander to the clock in our room.

I like to close lessons by reviewing the concepts we have learned and relating them back to practical and relate able things for students. When students share something they notice or that was challenging for them, it helps promote discussion that usually applies to many students within the classroom. It's also helpful when I hear from students about what got them "stuck" so that I can use it within the lesson the following day to help students work through it.