Telling time is one area of Montessori that throws me. And going to both AMI primary and AMI elementary training didn't really help rid of me of my annoyance in this area! ;)
In primary, we were told it was elementary work - talk about time in general; talk about the clock; have a calendar; etc. but no formal presentation and I don't think clock-work is mentioned anywhere in my AMI primary albums at all. It's elementary work right?
Well, I get on to elementary and while they have a presentation for the parts of the clock and a tiny bit more, we were told to presume that primary children had already had this work!
Anyhow, I am happy to share all of my work with YOU all. I developed this work based on experiments and observation with my tutoring children and my own son. What I have here is suitable for children who can recognize numbers. I do not claim this is the perfect and the only way to teach time; I am only saying it worked for us. There are SO MANY great and wonderful activities available for various ages - what I find is that some are more "key" than others - so I present the keys, and let the children show me where they want to go with it. I know they have the foundation and the framework and the tools to do their own decorating ;)
(vanitas - a fundamental human need and a human tendency towards perfecting oneself and one's environment by personalizing it).
12/15/2014: UPDATE: I have been told by many that this is too simplistic - not enough "work" here for the children. I counter with "Is it not enough work for the child - or is it not enough work for YOU?" We want to focus on the keys - so the children have time/space to explore AND have something to discover. Most children don't need every single step outlined for them - if they do and they are typically developing children, then they have been accustomed to having everything handed to them, with little room for personal thoughts of their own. I don't say that to judge or be cruel, but to point out a reality: that children take advantage of their human tendency for exploration when they are given the opportunity - and if they no longer have this tendency EVER, something happened TO them. To not have an interest in a particular subject, that is fine and normal - if it is truly a key experience, they will come back to it.
Thus we focus on the KEYS to exploration and discovery; providing real life key experiences, then the follow-ups either happen or we introduce them in bits later. Do everything with time all at once, the child will later say, "Oh I've learned all about that topic, I am done now." rather than coming back to it again and again and again as we actually want them to do.
Concerned about doing math with clocks? The elementary mathematics album includes work with non-decimal bases so the math is easily done there; also the history album and geometry album get into circles, degrees, history of Babylon, clocks, etc.
(note: that non-decimal base presentation? has no materials - at least no new materials (it uses the decanomial bead bars and the bead cabinet squares and cubes --- and a VERY easily hand-drawn chart)
We start with this clock:
Another bonus about that clock? The hour hand coordinates with the hour numbers in color; the minute hand with the minute, which brings me to my first MAIN KEY:
- I tell the children, "The hour is shorter and reaches for the big number that is closer; the minute hand is longer and stretching BEHIND those big numbers to the little numbers in the back - THAT is where we get the numbers for each hand."
- Without this piece, the rest doesn't make any sense or doesn't really matter; they really need to know to which numbers each hand is pointing. So don't move on until they get that concept.
(1/14/12: Yes, it is neat to see those bead bars of 5 - and it helps count up by 5 faster; it's one of those keys that if it works for you, do it! If not, it's ok too! I have had children totally boggled by the use of the bead bar there because then they think it can never be 7:23 for example; most children understand it just fine without the beads!)
|These cards are incremented in 15 minutes.|
Buy two sets - cut out the clock faces from one set
and mount on white index cards (getting rid of the color).
|I later added in this stamp - better than printing!|
This thing is SO MULTI-PURPOSE!
And the children can write their own times, copying
from the plastic clock above - or from a real clock!
Elementary children can use it in their work journals.
|All stored in a cute little basket!|
For the primary age, nothing more is really needed. There are plenty of great supplemental activities, such as a timeline of one's day, card matching and card grading games, and the like. But not every child likes or needs these.
For both ages (primary and elementary), be sure to include proper time-related terminology in your conversations and interactions. Don't be like me and tell your child that you'll be done in 5 minutes when you know it will be half an hour! ;) He'll start thinking that "Five minutes is a LONG time, Mama!"
And therein lies the second crucial key to telling time: USING it.
TIP: Start with analog and move to digital - it is easy to make the transition that direction; if you switch directions, you will have an uphill battle on your hands. Convinced we should only go digital? Then it will be that much harder to understand the historical telling of time and all those doors of discovery that are thereby opened, such as culture, number bases, astronomy, angle measurements ;) Sure, some of that is still present, but keeping the round clock-face is a huge sensorial foundation for this later work.
|This author has some great|
books just perfect for the
elementary Montessori crowd!
- Word problems with time
- Exploring timelines, BC/AD, centuries, decades, millenia
- Explore how different cultures and for different purposes tracked the passage of time.
- Many other resources listed here at Living Math.
- our favorite book that spurred a LOT of cosmic education interests? The Story of Clocks and Calendars: Marking a Millenium by Betsy Maestro
- Encourage further exploration based on interests; but also provide rich quality materials within the environment.