Teaching the time is a trying task in any language; I’ve been comparing notes with my Y3 colleagues who have been battling through the time with their classes in Maths lessons as I’ve been working on it with Y5 in Spanish. And back in the day when I taught KS3 and 4 it was also a challenge as I invariably had to ‘remind’ them of how to tell the time full stop! It seems that, for some, the time is viewed much as the gif above – wobbly wobbly and hard to pin down.
So this year I put on my thinking cap and considered what might make it easier. Active things like TimeBallet help with hour and half past, possibly quarter past/to, but tends to get too complicated/fall apart for many with minutes. Singing songs like Uno dos tres ¿Qué hora es? works for the question form and hour/half past. Using mini clocks works for some but I wanted something a bit more supportive. So I decided we’d all make a prop to help them.
Cue the purchase of lots of paper plates and split pins, and the sharing of my gel pens, felt tips and fine liners. The idea – not very original perhaps but quite effective – was to make a personalised plate clock with key phrases on it to support learners as we rehearsed the time.
I demonstrated how to make it but also wrote a set of instructions (in 4 screenshots below and downloadable in one document from here) for the learners to follow after the demonstration, along with providing a larger image plate clock diagram between two so that the writing was clearer.
By putting the hours hand on top of the minute hand, I hoped to emphasise that the hour always comes first, and we wrote the verb Es la/Son las on it to remind learners how the sentence started. And by writing the hours and minutes in separate colours that corresponded to the colour of the hand was another attempt to make it clearer which phrase to use.