Telling the time – an introduction

A slight delay to this blog post but, fortunately, the marking season and the National Tutoring Programme support I’ve been doing in a primary school are coming to an end, so I can now concentrate on a few other things.

This blog post is titled Telling the time – an introduction. During my time at the primary school, I have tried to support student understanding of how to tell the time using an analogue clock:

Because of the covid pandemic, students in the UK missed a lot of face-to-face lessons and one of the casualties, for some primary students, was being taught how to tell the time. So, when I started my support, I made it my mission to try to teach the students how to tell the time using an analogue clock. (The journey I have made has made me realise how telling the time can be taught and all the mathematics that can actually be taught using a clock!)

Now, the thing is, some of you reading this post might question why it is important to teach students how to tell the time using an analogue clock, when they all have a phone! Well, throughout these posts on what I did I will try to explain why I think it is! (If you ask students if they can tell the time, they might, happily, tell you yes and confidently say, “It’s 1:17 pm”; getting the time from their phone! However, if you then showed them 1:17 on an analogue clock, they might not have a clue where to begin! I have a theory about whether this is a problem: being able to read digital time but not analogue. But I will say more about this in another blog post.)

I began my mission by drawing clocks on paper/creating flashcards for o’clock, half-past, quarter past and quarter to; then practising these with the students, getting them to draw their own clocks in their books. (To begin with I resorted to them drawing round something circular!)

Now, putting numbers on a clock (the first challenge for the students) is harder than you might think and that’s what I’ll begin with next time!

Don’t forget, via, you can find out all about the online teacher training conference, Educating the 21st Century Student. I have some great live speakers lined up: Alison Borthwick (, Dr Alan Cross, Dr Tony Birch (, Sioban Parker, Stephen Atyeo and myself. Speakers who will provide pre-recorded workshops: Ann Starks, Joseph Hubbard ( and Sheba Moyo.

Thanks and see you next time,
nilsbird training

Engagement and repeating myself!

In a previous post I’d talked briefly about those students who lack motivation and seem to rule the roost! Do you know who I mean?

In the past, I have seen older, secondary-aged students (who lack motivation etc.) being given jobs to do, so that they are occupied and focused on something. I think I also recently experienced this with primary-aged students. That makes you wonder what can we do with those who are disengaged?

I seemed to have posted about the Zambian teacher’s conference (twice) already and mentioned that I would talk about teaching telling the time in a particular post (and never did!) To be clear, my next post will be about telling the time and there will be a lot more information about the conference as soon as it becomes available. A number of conference speakers are already arranged – see via

nilsbird training

Life is still very busy but please see about a great online event!

Life is still very busy, with marking and teaching, but one thing I must mention is:

Educating the 21st Century Student, an online teacher training conference for Zambia, and beyond – Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August 2021.

This event is an amazing opportunity for teachers based in Zambia, and beyond, to have three excellent days of training from some high quality trainers. Find out more about this event via

nilsbird training

Life is still busy but great news today!

Life never gives up on what it throws at us and, in my case, that’s the marking season, which is now upon me! So, things like my maths questions have taken a back seat for the moment. Do keep an eye out for number 17. I’ll let you know when it will be available.

This short blog post is really about the great news I have: Educating the 21st Century Student, an online teacher training conference for Zambia, and beyond – Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August 2021. This is a conference I am putting on in partnership with Chingola Private School Association – based in Chingola, Zambia (in the Copperbelt Region!).

© OpenStreetMap contributors,

All the details about the conference can be found via You can sign up there to be kept in the loop about all the arrangements for the conference. There are some amazing speakers lined up (including me!) and it’s a great price too – $30 for all three days!

I still need to write about how I’m teaching the time and fractions at the same time, but that will have to wait. Back to the marking!

See you next time.
nilsbird training