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Primary Magazine - Issue 16: Maths to share - CPD for your school

Created on 28 September 2009 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 17 April 2013 by ncetm_administrator


Primary Magazine Issue 16

Maths to share - CPD for your school

Mathematics Subject Knowledge - Time

Before the meeting, ask your colleagues to read Charlotte’s Clock. This article by Vikki Horner, from the May/June 2005 issue of 'Special Children', explains how she had to find a new way of teaching her daughter how to tell the time.

In addition, ask everyone to bring their most useful ‘teaching the time’ resource, excluding the analogue clock face.

Before the meeting prepare a photo quiz to identify the location of a selection of the clocks in your school. Make this by taking photographs of up to nine clocks around the school and copying and pasting them onto paper. Crop the shots to ensure that you don’t give too much away. Include the odd timer and perhaps the clock in the headteacher’s office. Try to get a mixture of analogue and digital clocks. If all the clocks in school are almost identical, then focus on watches on wrists instead and ask colleagues to identify the wearer. This is a rather more challenging activity! Make sure you choose a cross section of people, from the caretaker to headteacher and a mixture of those who will be at the meeting and those who won’t. As everyone arrives, give them a copy of it. When everyone has had the opportunity to have a good look, identify the clocks or wearers together.

selection of clock faces

Spend around five minutes discussing the photo quiz clocks. You might like to focus on the following questions:

  • what format were most of the clocks – analogue or digital? Is that a true representation of clocks in everyday life?
  • does the mixture of clocks in everyday life dictate how you teach time? Should you teach both analogue and digital together, or one after the other?


Ask colleagues to share their thoughts on reading Charlotte’s Clock. There is a great deal in the article, much of which is as applicable to the classroom as it was to Charlotte. Make some notes of any comments on the order of teaching on a flipchart or whiteboard to make a record of this shared reflection.

It is useful to have a good idea of the progression in skills and understanding that most children will experience as they learn to tell the time. This is an opportunity to pool experience and draw up a simple progression, including the necessary supporting skills.

Vikki Horner settled on the following order to teach her daughter how to tell the time:

1. Preparation for Reading Minutes
2. Preparation for Reading Hours
3. Teaching Stage I – Hour/Minute Format
4. Teaching Stage II – Past/To Format
5. Teaching Stage III – Past/To Format

Give colleagues a copy of the Time Progression sheet. In small (ideally cross-phase) groups, ask colleagues to compare the different progressions and draw up their own group time progression. Include supporting skills such as counting in fives and reading scales, and anything they feel is missing (eg. reading and using a calendar). Allow 20 to 30 minutes for this activity.

Take feedback from each group and begin to draw up an agreed progression. It is likely that you will need to collect each group’s ideas to complete after the meeting. Where there are differences of opinion, you will need to use your professional judgement to complete the skills progression.

Invite colleagues to take it in turns to show their favoured resource and how they use it. It may well be that a number of colleagues bring the same resource, but it is likely that they will use it in different ways. Mark on the shared progression when each resource could be useful.

Would Charlotte’s Clock be a useful additional resource to have in school?

finishing flag
Finishing off
Complete the session with a look at John Dabell’s blog, Once upon a time. Share copies as everyone will need to read carefully! Discuss.

later - clock
Add brief details of the resources brought to the meeting to those below and distribute with the finalised agreed progression.

resources - computer
Useful resources to support teaching time

Children's books to support teaching time

  • The Time It Took Tom, also called Tom and the Tinful of Trouble, by Nick Sharratt ISBN 0590114271 and 0439944740
  • Cluck o'clock by Kes Gray ISBN 0340866047
  • Clocks, Clocks and More Clocks by Pat Hutchins ISBN 0689717695
  • It's about Time! by Stuart J Murphy ISBN 0060557699 
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