barebones ©Thor May 2001                                                            back to barebones index

All the materials in barebones are working teaching documents 
subject to review, alteration or abandonment in classroom practice.
Anyone is welcome to use this stuff, but copyright remains with
Thor May. Feedback, positive or negative, is very welcome.

ESL materials & ideas developed in Korea


Popup English

Numeracy - Telling The Time

a)Teaching Notes

1. Large numbers of Sungsim students cannot tell the time, speaking in English. This an essential skill for dealing with foreigners.

2. Some students know the numeric enunciation, 2:45 (two forty-five) etc. Very few are familiar with the more common English locutions of ...

.. a quarter to three; a quarter past one; half past two; five past seven; twelve minutes past eight (note: the word "minutes" is spoken for all except the five-minute intervals); twenty five to nine; three minutes to six ....

3. Students involved with the travel industry should also be made familiar with the English version of military time (used by airlines, railroads etc) : e.g. "thirteen hundred hours"

4. As with most things to do with numbers, it is not adequate to complete one lesson on "telling the time", then feel that it is "done". Even if students have caught the locutions for the moment, they will fade quickly without use. When a lesson is dragging for too long on some other topic, ginger things for a couple of minutes by drawing quick clocks and quizzing random students to "tell the time".


Draw a large clock on the board. Move the hands and prompt students to give both the numeric time (1:34 etc) and the common locution (twenty-six minutes to two ... etc). Also prompt for military time if this is appropriate for the group.


"Telling The Time" copyrighted to Thor May 2001; all rights reserved

back to barebones index