Lesson plan

Counting Hours: What Time Is It?

Give first graders a sense of time by introducing them to telling time by the hour. Students who have mastered the numbers 1 to 12 will be eager to keep the class on a time schedule.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Telling Time With My Day pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Telling Time With My Day pre-lesson.

Students will be able to tell time on the hour using an analog clock.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Call the students together as a group.
  • Ask the students what item is used to tell time.
  • Take responses by raised hands.
  • Inform the students that clocks come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Inform the students that today they will be using an analog clock, or a clock that has rotating hands.
(10 minutes)
  • Show the students a large battery-operated analog clock.
  • Ask the students to count from 1-12 as you point out the numbers on the clock.
  • Draw an analog clock on the whiteboard.
  • Draw an hour hand on the clock.
  • Inform the students that the hour hand moves slowly around the clock, and that it takes 12 hours to make a full rotation.
  • Inform the students that an hour is 60 minutes long.
  • Draw a minute hand on the clock.
  • Tell the students that a minute hand moves more quickly around the clock, and that it takes it one hour to make a rotation.
  • Inform the students that 60 seconds is equal to one minute.
  • Show 12 o'clock on the analog clock.
  • Ask the students to repeat after you as you say "12 o'clock."
  • Show 1 o'clock and have the students repeat after you as you say "1 o'clock."
  • Continue this process until you get back to 12 o'clock.
  • Emphasize that the minute and hour hands move to the right, or clockwise, at all times.
(10 minutes)
  • Place the students at their desk to work.
  • Each student should have a paper plate with an analog clock face already drawn on the plate.
  • Each student should have a precut hour hand, a precut minute hand, and a brass fastener.
  • Tell the students to place the hour and minute hands on top of each other so that the punched holes align.
  • Have the students put the brass fastener through the punched holes on the minute and hour hand.
  • Then have the students put the brass fastener through the paper plate clock face.
  • In the event you wish to save time, each clock may be pre-assembled.
  • Ask the class to set the clocks at 12 o'clock, as previously modeled.
  • Ask the students to demonstrate various times on the hour.
  • Walk around the room to check in with students as they use this manipulative.
(15 minutes)
  • Ask the students to have a seat at their desk.
  • Provide each student with a pencil and a Be on Time worksheet.
  • Read the instructions to the students.
  • Have the students complete the worksheet.
  • Collect the worksheet for grading.
  • Have the students color the face of their analog clock with crayons.


  • Provide students with the Time Review: Tell Time with Carlos Cat worksheet. It has various analog clocks displaying different times on the hour. Have the students write the time under each clock. Do not provide a word box or any scaffolding.


  • Provide students with the Be On Time worksheet. It has the hour hand and minute hand in red and black. This should make telling time a bit easier for students who need extra support.
(10 minutes)
  • Assess the independent work of the students.
  • Mini-conference with students who scored low.
  • Provide reinforcement by assigning homework or another opportunity to master the concept the next lesson.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student an index card with a time on the hour from 1 o'clock to 12 o'clock.
  • Do not repeat any of the times.
  • Have the students arrange themselves in the correct order to make a human clock.
  • If you have more than 12 students, create two groups of 12.

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