How to Tell and Write Time (Digital & Analogue Clocks)

Learning how to tell and write time on both a digital and analogue clock is a first grade, Common Core math skill: 1.MD.3. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

There are no common core standards for telling time on clocks in Kindergarten. This will be the first standard that students will be learning that specifically addresses time on clocks. However, in Kindergarten, they were exposed to aspects of time such as morning, afternoon, and evening.  While reading a clock may be new to most students, this 1st grade skill expands their understanding of the aspects of time they were exposed to in Kindergarten.

Future Learnings

Later, your students will learn to tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, both a.m. and p.m. (2. MD.7). They will learn to tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. And further on, they will solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes (3. MD.1).

Common Core Standard: 1.MD.3 - Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Differentiate between an analogue and digital clock.
  2. Differentiate between the hour and minute hand on an analog clock.
  3. Recall the number of minutes in an hour.
  4. Recall the number of minutes in a half hour hour.
  5. Tell time at least to the half hour and hour interval.
  6. Be able to write time
  7. Draw a minute and hour hands on a clock to the half hour and hour interval.
  8. Relate analogue clock time to digital clock time, and vice versa.
  9. Understand the time terms “o’clock” and “thirty.”

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: 1.MD.3

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: Helping Betsy the Beaver Tell Time

The video follows Betsy the Beaver who needs to get ready to go to a friend’s house. She needs to make sure she has the right time on both her digital and analogue clocks. 

Betsy looks at the digital clock on her wall. The video explains that: 

  1.  The left side means hours.
  2. The right side means minutes
  3. The digital clock shows 5 hours and 0 minutes. 
    a. It is 5 o’clock.

Betsy then checks her analogue watch to make sure she has the right time. The video explains that:

  1. The short hand tells the hour.
    a. It is on the 5.
  2. The long hand tells the minutes. 
    a. It is on the 12, the top of the clock, meaning it is at 0 minutes. 
    b. It is 5 o’clock.

Besty gets ready and it takes her one half-hour, or 30 minutes to finish. It is now 5:30. The video looks at what 5:30 looks like on both clocks.

 On the digital clock:

  1. The hours side still says 5.
  2. The minutes side now says 30.

On the analogue clock:

  1. The short hand has moved a bit. 
    a. It is in between 5 and 6 because it is no longer 5 o’clock and is before 6. 
  2. The long hand is pointing at the 6, at the bottom of the clock. 
    a. It has moved halfway around the clock
    b. Meaning, it is half past 5, or 5:30.

Video 2: Telling and Writing Time with Boddle

The video starts by teaching your students how to tell time using digital clocks. All students have to do is read through the numbers. 

The first example is 8:30. Boddle reminds students that we need to read two numbers, separated by a colon. The video reads out the time, highlighting the numbers as they are said.

The second example is 2:00. 

  1. The right side has two 00. 
    a. Meaning, 60 minutes, or 1 hour, has passed.
    b. We don’t read it as “zero zero.”
    c. When telling time, “zero zero” is read as “o’clock.
  2. The video reads out the time, highlighting the numbers as they are said.

Next, the video moves onto additional practice reading digital time. Your students can match the digital clock to the written time. 

  1. 3:00 = three o’clock
  2. 11:00 = eleven o’clock
  3. 5:30 = five-thirty
  4. 9:30 = nine-thirty

After, Boddle goes on to tell time using analogue clocks. It provides information on what the pieces of a clock mean and how to read them. 

  1. Analogue clocks have two hands.
    a. The hour hand is the short one.
    b. The minute hand is the long one.
  2. If the minute hand is at 12, it means 60 minutes, or 1 hour, and is read as o’clock [:00].
  3. If the minute hand is at 6, it means 30 minutes, or half an hour.
  4. Sometimes, the hour hand won’t point exactly at a number.
    a. Use the number it has recently passed. 

The video then practices reading analogue clocks. Boddle presents 2 clocks for students to read the time from. 

  1. First clock, the hour hand is at 4, and the minute hand is at 12.
    a. It is 4 o’clock.
  2. Second clock, the hour hand is between 8 and 9, and the minute hand is at 6. 
    a. It is 8:30.

After, Boddle tests your students' skills by having them match digital clocks to the correct analogue clock. There are four examples for your students to practice on. Each example, Boddle reviews the placements of the hour and minute hands, guiding students to the correct answer. 

The clocks’ times and correct letter choice are 6:00 (B), 1:30 (A), 12:00 (D), and 6:30 (C). 

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.