Learning to Tell Time in English and German

Hi Everyone!

Since we are now home-schooling, I was tasked with teaching my first grader how to tell time.
We sat down with his school workbooks, trying to fill in the right answers, and found ourselves very quickly frustrated with me switching between English and German, the 12 and 24 hour clocks, and my son laying his head on the table and turning “off.” We were done for the day, and anytime I mentioned that we still had to “learn time,” he would scream “no!” and run off.

However, today we did it! Here are some tips:

1. Put away the workbooks.

2. Have your child make their own clock (see crafting instructions below)

3. If your child is bilingual, ask which language they want to do it in first.

4. Do the hours first. Your child will succeed in this and gain confidence. You could go ahead and teach the 24 hour version here, even if you are starting in English.

5. Then do the minutes: We had practiced our 5 time tables on the first day, so my son already knew it. I find this much easier in English, it feels more like a chant. You can slice up your clock and put the minutes under the flaps as a kind of “cheat sheet.” See the craft instructions below. Try and get your child to make as much of the clock as possible, even if it is just drawing the numbers. This helps them feel part of the project.

6. Have your child teach someone else: We have our Little Bear puppet, and he is a bit younger than my son, so Little Bear always gets it wrong and gets a bit frustrated. My son really liked quizzing and then explaining it to Little Bear.

7. After you have got the minutes down, add in the “quarter past,” “quarter to”, and “half past.” This segues then better into now teaching it in the second language.

8. Once they have mastered it in one language, then move on to the second language and its own peculiarities, like in German “halb”—the next hour, instead of “half past” the current hour in English, and tackling the 24 hour clock. (To be honest, I still get confused with the “Drei viertel” so I didn’t bother with that one. Please comment below if you have an easy explanation!)

9. Now you can do the stinkin’ Workbooks!


Step by step instructions for making your own paper plate clock: https://www.kiwico.com/…/…/Not-Your-Average-Paper-Clock/1354

One you think you’ve got it, have your kid try this little online quiz/game: for each right answer an animal advances over a bridge: https://www.gamestolearnenglish.com/telling-the-time/

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