EL Support Lesson

Telling Time Using Skip Counting

Teach your students to read time to the nearest five minutes by counting by fives! Use this lesson as a stand-alone support lesson for ELs or alongside Tricky Time Telling.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Tricky Time Telling lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Tricky Time Telling lesson plan.

Students will be able to tell and show time using analog clocks.


Students will be able to explain five minute intervals with specific academic vocabulary using sentence frames and peer discussions for support.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather students together and make sure the class schedule is visible to all students.
  • Write the word time on the whiteboard. Say, "I want you to think about time. Turn and talk to a partner, sharing what you know about time."
  • Allow students a few minutes to share their ideas with a partner. Provide sentence stems, such as:
    • Time helps me ____.
    • I use time to ____.
  • Ask a few students to share their ideas aloud and jot them on the whiteboard.
  • Explain to students that today they will be learning about how to use analog clocks to read time to the nearest five minutes.
(7 minutes)
  • Project the Vocabulary Cards worksheet on the whiteboard.
  • Put students into small groups and pass out a set of the Vocabulary Cards to each group.
  • Get out the analog demonstration clock and the digital clock and prop them up on the ledge of the whiteboard. Another option would be to set the clocks on a table in front of the classroom.
  • Read through the student-friendly definitions one at a time. Pause after each word and invite student volunteers to come up to the front of the classroom to show examples of each vocabulary word. Say, "I want you to see if you can find an example of ____ (the minute hand, a digital clock, time, etc). Who can come up to the front of the room to show me?" When you get to skip counting, see if a student can provide a written example on the whiteboard.
  • Instruct students to quiz each other on the Vocabulary Cards in their small groups. Assign one student to be the questioner and model how to read the definition aloud and wait for a student to raise their hand to share the vocabulary word. If time allows, let students switch roles until all the students have a chance to be the questioner.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to return to their individual seats.
  • Project the Telling Time with Ricky Racer worksheet on the whiteboard and pass out copies to each student.
  • Explain to the students that they will use skip counting to fill in the missing numbers on the clock. Provide a real life scenario of an instance when you would have to check on something every five minutes for 15–30 minutes (e.g. checking on a pizza in the oven, checking on a cake to make sure it doesn't burn, waiting for bread to rise when you aren't sure how long it will take to double, etc.)
  • Provide students with access to hundreds charts, unifex cubes, and number lines to use as they figure out the problem.
  • Allow students 1–2 minutes to solve the problem. When all students seem to be finished, say, "What method or strategy did you use to figure out what number you needed to skip count by? Are there any clues on the worksheet that provided you with support?" Provide sentence stems to support students in sharing out their ideas, such as:
    • The strategy I used was ____ (e.g. looking at the numbers written on the worksheet, counting by fives on my fingers, a hundreds chart, a number line, counting by fives, and writing the numbers down before recording the numbers on the clock), and it helped me because ____.
    • One of the clues was ____. It helped me because ____.
  • Create a visual display of student strategies on the anchor chart for them to reference throughout the lesson.
  • Ask students to compare and contrast the strategies and clues students used to solve the problem. Provide sentence frames for students to refer to. For example:
    • ____'s strategy was ____ (the same/different) from my strategy because ____.
    • I noticed ____ solved the problem by ____ while I solved the problem by ____.
    • Next time, I will try ____.
  • Pass out sticky notes to eight students. Point to the blank spaces around the clock on the Telling Time with Ricky Racer worksheet. Have students skip count orally and stop when they get to the blank space. Ask a student with the sticky note to record the missing number and place it on the clock projected on the whiteboard. Repeat this process until the clock is accurately filled in.
(12 minutes)
  • Put students in partnerships and pass out a copy of the Telling Time to Five Minutes worksheet to each partnership and one of the sentence frame notecards.
  • Read through the directions on the worksheet and ask students to rephrase the directions to their partner.
  • Write the following sentence frame on the board (the same sentence frame students have):
    • This clock shows ____ minutes after ____.
  • Complete the first four problems with the class, calling students to help you when appropriate.
  • Model filling in the sentence frame after each question. For example, for the first problem you would fill in:
    • This clock shows 20 minutes after 12.
  • Record 12:20 on the worksheet.
  • Continue this process until you feel comfortable having students complete the remainder of the worksheet with their partners.
  • Rotate around the classroom and assist students as needed.


  • Provide students with small analog clocks to refer to throughout the lesson.
  • Give students a bilingual dictionary with important words/phrases in English and their home language (L1).
  • Pair students with bilingual peers or sympathetic non-EL students when possible.
  • Instruct students to highlight the minute hand and hour hand in separate colors on the Telling Time to Five Minutes worksheet.
  • Allow students to work in partnerships or a small, teacher-led group during the assessment.
  • Have students refer to their Vocabulary Cards as they fill out the Learning About Analog Clocks worksheet.


  • Encourage students to share their ideas without referring to the sentence stems/frames for support.
  • Challenge students to create a short paragraph on the back of their Learning About Analog Clocks worksheet to detail the process of figuring out time using an analog clock.
  • Ask students to use sequencing words in their paragraph (first, next, then, finally).
  • Have students read their completed paragraphs aloud to the class and encourage other students to discuss whether they agree/disagree with the student's process and justify their reasoning.
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out the Learning About Analog Clocks worksheet to each partnership.
  • Read through the directions and clarify any misconceptions as they come up.
  • Rotate around the classroom and guide students as they complete their worksheets, paying attention to students who struggle to use the word bank to complete the paragraph frame as well as students who need extra practice learning the tiered words from the lesson.
(4 minutes)
  • Gather together in a circle and ask a few students to read their completed paragraphs aloud to the class.
  • Elaborate how skip counting can help us figure out time to the nearest five minutes.
  • Close by completing a quick whip-around-pass, asking students to complete the following sentence frame:
    • Time is important because ____.

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