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Understanding functional math skills, like time and money, is essential for students with severe disabilities. I posted some tips and resources to teach money skills a few weeks ago and today I'm here to share some quick tips & resources for teaching time concepts. All of the resources linked in this post are ones that I actually use in my classroom with my students!

Time Concept Teaching Tips

Teaching time in a functional has to be way more than teaching students to read the time on a clock. Being able to tell time is meaningless if students don't understand the basic concepts of time. I like my students to know and understand these time concepts-

I'm going to step up on my soapbox for just a minute and reiterate, teaching time is more than teaching time telling on a clock. Please teach students basic time concepts before, or in addition to, teaching time telling. It's not functional to be able to read a clock and not know what it means!

After I feel like students have a firm understanding on some of the above time concepts, I introduce (or re-introduce) telling time on a clock. I like to teach telling time in small chunks. Here's an example IEP goal.

Telling time from the :30-:55 is the most difficult because the hour hand gets further and further away from the hour so it gets more and more confusing. Ainslee Labs has a great time unit that teaches students to first identify the hour's "room" and then starts slowly adding the minute hand. It's a great way to teach time! I also like to teach one easier interval paired with a more difficult interval, for example, :10 and :40. Ideally, students need to memorize the minutes instead of counting by 5's around the clock every time so by introducing a few intervals at a time, students are able to memorize them and then move on. Here is the sequence that I generally use.

Telling Time Resources

Time Concept Resources

If you have a favorite time resource that's not already listed, feel free to link it in the comments! Thanks for reading!




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