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View Full Version : Math: Clock Aversion. What would you do?



Mum
01-06-2012, 11:03 AM
The kid (9) is in the time unit of our Math curriculum.

He is so daunted by it. For some reason, the analog clock and everything that goes with it overwhelms him to the point that getting through Math is worst part of our day.

The kid can count by fives, add ones, subtract, etc. But ask him to apply it to telling time and it's like I'm speaking a foreign language.

I'm seriously considering skipping the time telling Unit and moving on with intentions to return to it later in the year when he is (perhaps) no longer looking at it like it's some kind of monster.

What would you do?
Plow through it to help him get through the tough stuff or postpone?

Staysee34
01-06-2012, 11:29 AM
Oh, I feel for ya. We had the same issue at the beginning of the year. I decided to treat time (and money) as a completely seperate beast aside from the basics. For whatever reason it worked. So, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we do Math U See first. Then, we do a couple other subjects followed by Time and Money. The lessons are short and painless. We only focus on one thing at a time. First, time to the hour, then half hour and so on.

I don't know how much this helps. If nothing else, I can commiserate.

CatInTheSun
01-06-2012, 11:51 AM
SKIP IT!!!!

My 8yo dd zoomed thru all math...except analog clocks. She could solve long division problems easily in 2nd grade, but HATED ANYTHING to do with clocks. I bought her a watch. I hung a clock in the living room. I asked her easy time related questions (like how ling until Wild Kratts is on tv, LOL). She still hated it. Since she was accelerating thru materials, it seemed like the unit on time came up 2-3 times a year, I'd try a little, same reaction, and I felt a little nervous skipping it. Now, suddenly, it's trivial for her. It took maybe 10min a day for a week to teach her everything she might ever need to know about reading a clock, elapsed time, etc.

The whole 60min, 24 hour thing is the gift that keeps giving from the Babylonians. The analog clock just isn't relevant like it was when we were kids -- EVERYTHING has a digital clock. Thinking about the concepts required to understand an analog clock -- base 60, counting by 5s and 15s, checking if the hour clock is just before or after an hour, going around the hour...it's NEVER been appropriate for young kids, but in the classroom there wasn't much other choice. Now, IMO reading analog clocks really should be moved to 4th grade or so. As sort of a historical oddity, so they can read Big Ben. Like reading roman numerals -- fun, historical, nice, but hardly a critical skill.

So again, SKIP IT!!! It really, really is NOT worth giving your ds a hatred of math. It's not important and when he's ready, say if he hasn't figured it out by high school, then worry about it. But since he's already uptight about it, move on. DO something he really LOVES in math for the next week -- maybe geometry? Or do statistics on a bag of colored mini marshmallows? Get back on the happy math train! LOL

hockeymom
01-06-2012, 12:12 PM
I agree to skip it for now, but I'd hardly say the analog clock is irrelevant. Some kids learn it easily--I did by age 3 or 4 (so says my mom), my son at 4. But like everything else, some kids get it earlier and some do later, so I definitely wouldn't stress over it. I found simply hanging an analog clock near a digital one made sense, my son taught himself that way by comparing them. But I'm of the mind that skills like this aren't worth stressing about; there is no magical time in which we need to have them and yet I've never heard of an adult who couldn't use an analog clock or who doesn't possess clock skills. It's something that will come, just like understanding money comes at some point, usually when it becomes personally important. It's definitely not worth any math angst! :)

Mum
01-06-2012, 12:21 PM
Thanks, y'all. I really like the ideas of putting an analog beside the digital clock and approaching time as a separate subject since it's such a PIA for him.

Getting back on the Happy Math train, CatintheSun. I appreciate the advice.

Cafdog
01-06-2012, 04:10 PM
My DD had a heck of a time with the analog clock units in grades 2-4. I swear, she only has become comfortable with them lately. I don't know if it's the digital age, and they just resent having to "count" the minutes on the analog clocks, or what. She was soooo stubborn about learning time. Weird.

jess
01-06-2012, 04:59 PM
Buy him a neat watch?

DS received an analog watch for his 7th birthday. We'd been over the clock previously and he hadn't really got it. Within 15 minutes of getting his own watch, it clicked.

But I also think that holding off for now is ok.

farrarwilliams
01-06-2012, 06:46 PM
I wouldn't skip it. I was a bit appalled at the way that kids in 6th and 7th grade that I taught couldn't do time lapse problems to save their lives. And honestly, time lapse problems are one of the pieces of math that I actually use on a very regular basis. It's what keeps you vaguely on time and lets you plan reasonable schedules and so forth.

But, that said, my boys also don't get analog clocks and I'm also dreading doing it again with them. Argh. So I might try to work it into your routine in a less threatening way (maybe with a different book or curriculum?) or put it off but definitely come back to it.

LAR
01-06-2012, 08:48 PM
Our girls loved the "What Time is It, Peter Rabbit?", Beatrix Potter book. It has a clock built into the book, and for us it worked. I added minute lines with a marker on the clock face, and put together worksheets for them. We were lucky; this simple book did the trick.

Avalon
01-06-2012, 09:39 PM
I wish I knew the answer to this one. My 12yo daughter had a heck of a time learning the analog clock. I taught her several times. When she was younger, she just didn't get it. She was probably able to do it briefly at around age 10, but promptly forgot. Everytime it comes up in math, we essentially start over.

She's not the type of person to be concerned about how long something takes, or how long to wait until something else happens. She is blissfully unaware of the passage of time, for the most part.

I intend to cover calculating elapsed time with her this year, so we'll have another go-around with the clock. I am not optimistic that it will stick. Not at all.

On the other hand, my ds basically figured out clock-reading by the start of third grade. He doesn't really need to do it very often, so it takes him a moment to think it through, but he can do it. He's already a whiz at elapsed time, too. His personality is just wired that way. He CARES how many minutes something will take.

lakshmi
01-06-2012, 10:50 PM
Mama Cat tells time?

I have no idea, I am non-plussed by clock time. I use only analog clocks at my house so... they will have to learn it or not be able to tell time. And if they can't tell time then they will miss something at some point which will encourage them to start telling time.

I can look at my RightStart stuff and see what happens there. We haven't covered it yet officially, but I started working on it a long time ago. The first things I started teaching were things to help me make my life easier. So my kids have known days of the week for a long time. And I started but didn't push it with time. So I am just blathering on for no reason.

MarkInMD
01-06-2012, 11:18 PM
I'm in the "wouldn't skip it totally but hold off for now" camp.

theWeedyRoad
01-07-2012, 11:00 AM
I would also hold off for now.

We ran into something similar with my dd and money. 3 weeks of TORTURE and she could recognize coins, tell their value, and add them up... but she still didn't get it at all. We played store to end the unit, and it was sort of the point where I declared it a failure. She just didn't get it at all.

I briefly went back to it in the spring, but mostly her current money skills are related to her own allowance and checking out sales fliers. I think she's probably ready now, but definitely came to it on her own.

I remember being taught to read clocks in 1st, but not really getting it well until I was 10. These days, our ps doesn't even teach ALL of time together- in first they learn to tell to hour and 1/2 hr. In 2nd, they learn quarter hours, in 3rd they learn to 5 minutes, 4th they learn to the minute... no idea why the heck it's broken up that way (fractions are taught similarly and it makes me crazy).

Bugs
01-07-2012, 11:16 AM
What about just putting clocks up in every room? We have them all over, and no digital clock to be found (within sight of the kids).

Mum
01-07-2012, 09:13 PM
Thanks for all the additional feedback. After reading your posts, I was reminded that in my school, growing up, there were only analog clocks in the classrooms. By Fourth Grade I can remember watching the clock to see how much longer til recess, lunch and dismissal. I'm going to put analog clocks in all our rooms and start focusing more on the time of day in our daily routines.

Then I'll come back to the time unit in a few months.

My husband also suggested that it might click more after we've covered fractions for this year. We'll see...

lakshmi
01-08-2012, 12:47 AM
husbands! bah.....

lol....

yes, hang up the clocks and be sure to say no you can't have that cookie now, only in 10 minutes... and they learn time fast!!

Jeni
01-08-2012, 04:01 PM
The kid (9) is in the time unit of our Math curriculum.

He is so daunted by it. For some reason, the analog clock and everything that goes with it overwhelms him to the point that getting through Math is worst part of our day.

The kid can count by fives, add ones, subtract, etc. But ask him to apply it to telling time and it's like I'm speaking a foreign language.

I'm seriously considering skipping the time telling Unit and moving on with intentions to return to it later in the year when he is (perhaps) no longer looking at it like it's some kind of monster.

What would you do?
Plow through it to help him get through the tough stuff or postpone?

I had the same problem. I remember crying trying to get the right answer and just not getting it. To be honest, I still can't tell time very well, it takes me forever unless it's an easy 12/6 time. I never really learned how to tell time the traditional way. And in the 80's that was still a big thing. Now a days I hardly ever run into that problem, I just look at my phone or ask someone.

I figured out about a year or so ago that I probably have Dyscalculia (math dyslexia) that was never dx because people just don't know much about it. One of the big symptoms is being able to read analog clocks.

If it were me, I would do the basics, 12:30, 8:00, etc. Times you traditionally do most daily activities. Go over what each section of the clock means; the hands, the little lines, how many seconds in a min, how many mins in an hour, how many hours in a day and so on. Stuff he really needs to know. I would skip the actual time telling if he can get the basics down. He can probably get along and pick up the rest as he gets older.

Sherry
01-08-2012, 06:33 PM
You could put a clock like one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Lining-Multimedia-Teaching-Hands/dp/B0019VQ6W0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1326064539&sr=8-3 http://www.meijer.com/s/10-inch-time-teacher-wall-clock/_/R-179984 http://www.franklinclock.com/kid_klok.htm on the wall in your teaching area. Refer to the time periodically throughout the day.

I do have to say that I am the opposite of many of the people posting replies. I prefer analog. I have to think harder with digital to put time into context. 6:20 on a digital clock means I have to think 6:20 is almost 6:30, that is halfway between 6 and 7. With analog, I can see the relationships.

lakshmi
01-08-2012, 10:36 PM
Sherry those clocks would drive me batty...LOL....

But i too understand your analog thing... I work in sessions and I am always running behind. If I use digital then I let people out way to early, but with analog then I have a very clear idea of how much time is 55 minutes. Sounds stupid, but I can "SEE" it whereas with a digital i just sort of guess. After I've seen the time on analog then I can translate to digital and watch a different clock though.

I love the way the universe works. One or two days after this post popped up I turn to Lesson 53 and find....A CLOCK!!! LOL.. My first thought was MUM! not woot learning time. Cracked myself up.