Using a Clock (Easy Time Telling)

*This post may contain affiliate links. You are not obligated to purchase anything, they are are just here for convenience. I do receive a small commission for them though.

How many times do you like to hear when is it time to move one? (Not from boredom but anticipation) At one point in time, it did not bother me, but as time went on, I have learned that I would prefer them to be able to figure this out on their own without my help. The schedule posted on the wall is great and all, but it does not stop the questions. We have a clock on the wall, I use it, and the kids look at it knowing that it represents time, but do they understand it.

No, my classes didn’t understand the clock. I could direct them to the number that represents the hour, but still, that is not enough. We have an hour and minute hand to worry about, this is not working, and I am again answering questions for some. The goal’s to have an independent class; to do that, I need to provide tools for each child.

Easy time telling
Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

Here’s how I made time telling easy in my classes. Each hour has a block, and defining that hour with early learners is essential in helping them understand the time and know where they are in their daily routine.

Enter rainbow hours.

I needed a way for the children to understand that the hour was longer than a minute, and even though the hour hand has moved to one of the minute dashes, it was still within an hour. I got up in the middle of our free time and grabbed that clock off the wall, grabbed some supplies, and got to work. I needed help, and I was going to help them and myself as well.


  • Clock
  • Dry erase markers
  • Ruler


  1. Clean the face of the clock
  2. Take your ruler and line it up with an hour mark and draw a black line from the outer edge to the center of the clock. Do this for each hour of the school day.
  3. After you have your lines for the hours, you can now color the hour block in a color of your choosing.

How I presented the clock.

Because I was asked well over four times when we were going to have lunch that day, I prepped this clock while they were in the room. This lead to them all flocking to me to see what kind of crazy I was going through. Once I noticed that everyone was around me and they started to ask me questions about what I was doing with their clock, I thought an impromptu lesson was needed.

How I went over the hours with them.

We had a conversation about their class schedule and how we transitioned throughout the day. I started with the nine on the clock and colored it until the ten and explained that when the shorthand is on the 9, then it’s time to start school. We talked about the minute hand and that when it’s on the six and the shorthand is in the purple, then it’s time to start our morning meeting. We broke down each hour of our day. I like to work with the 30-minute mark for the children to help them see that even the minute hand has a purpose. (ex. Lunch is at 11:30, and the gym is at 10:30)

How did our Rainbow Clock workout?

Our rainbow clock has been the best decision that I have made for my class. The children were better able to gauge the time that they had left for each block of our day. It turned into them, keeping better track of their time and notifying me when I was going overtime. They understood that when we were deep into an activity that they enjoyed, they were taking away time from another activity and that it could not be regained. They were able to make better choices on how deep we can get into a subject, so they didn’t miss out on their gym time. A few times, they skipped their morning snack and opted for an earlier lunch. These choices were choices that they had all along, but they couldn’t understand the time so they couldn’t make them.

Using this clock allowed me to rid my room of our hour and 30-minute timers. Rainbow Clock is a clock that has changed my classroom, and I highly recommend that you give it a try.

What I would like to do differently

I have been looking around for rainbow clocks, but wonder will a premade clock presents the same effect. I want to use a transparent colored film to cover the spaces. I think this would make it easier for me to show the clock in the upcoming years. I am also going to make the minute dashes more pronounced for easy readability for the children and me. I will go over this clock with in the first month of school. By then, the new school year’s happiness has dwindled, and they start to wonder when are specials.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply