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4b: Telling the Time
Beginners level


Main Aims

  • To introduce and give practice in the functional language of telling the time.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Integrated vocabulary and speaking in the context of telling the time.


Warm-up/Lead-in (5-6 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

PRE WARM-UP Teacher (to a student): Excuse me. What time is it? Student: It’s 11 o'clock. Teacher: Thank you. Student. You're welcome. Teacher: Then we will start the class. NB: If the initial dialogue does not follow this ideal model or students are still arriving at the start time of the class, this dialogue, which models a real-life situation, will be elicited repeatedly as necessary. WELCOME CHECK SEATING & VISIBILITY using students' names WARM-UP / LEAD-IN: This warm-up / lead in focuses on numbers to ensure students have familiarity with the numbers they will need to tell time. Teacher distributes a pink set of cards with numbers in numerals and a peach-colored set with numbers written out, including all the numbers used in the lesson (1-12, plus 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 50). Each student will be given a small batch of mixed numerals and written numbers and will search for their matches held by another student (if they hold a "FOUR," they look for a "4"). The student who depletes their stash of numbers first is the winner. (If there are extra cards, they will either be surreptitiously given to the stronger students or held aside.) Instructions: will be provided through gestures as much as possible, with the teacher modeling/miming searching and finding a match and putting it to the side and searching again. While students are matching, teacher writes "Telling the time" on WB and over it posts image of two people, a man asking the time of a woman wearing a watch, on WB. Teacher concludes with w/c FB: a brief one-by-one display of a few of the mixed cards, eliciting student identification as a choral drill.

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Through gestures and minimal speech (e.g., "What is the woman doing?"), teacher points to image on WB and elicits topic of lesson, "Telling the time," and reveals on WB. Teacher elicits from students: "What is the man saying?" Ideal answer from pre-warm-up: "Excuse me. What time is it?" Teacher posts intonation of this question on the WB with arrow and models. Teacher then drills this pronunciation briefly. Teacher gestures that the students are going to listen to an audiotape (using hand to ear and realia) and plays brief two-line track: "What time is it?" "It's 8:30." Teacher writes on board and drills question. Teacher posts two pictures: one of the sun and one of the moon and elicits "day" and night." Teacher exhibits clock on WB (previously covered) with a sample time (10:10am) on clock face. After eliciting the time, teacher writes time on WB as both "10:10" and "ten past 10." Teacher points to the sun to indicate daytime and elicits and adds "a.m." to the time, then adds the phonetic /eɪ em/ and drills pronunciation. Teacher points out with gestures the long and the short arms of the clock and changes minute hand to 10:20, again eliciting time from students and writing on board both forms. Teacher does this for 10:25, 10:30 ("half past": with phonetic /ˈhaf/), 10:45 ("quarter to"), 10:50 ("ten to") and 11:05, pointing out the pronunciation of "eleven-oh-five" and including "a.m." Teacher concludes with 11:15 ("quarter past"). Phonetic quarter is written on WB: /kwȯ(r)-tər/. Teacher then gestures the minute hand going around the clock and at 12, elicits and writes "noon" and points to the set of pictures, eliciting the correct picture representing p.m. Teacher writes "pm" and phonetic /pi: em/ and drills pronunciation. Error correction: "It's 8 o'clock p.m."

Controlled Practice (9-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Teacher then invites 2-3 students to re-draw the clock hands and w/c say the time using "a.m." and "p.m." Teacher chests first HO. Teacher gestures that the students are going to listen to an audiotape (using hand to ear and realia) and circle the correct time on their own. Teacher chests HO and indicates that students have a choice, gesturing with flipped fingers and/or using minimal verbal instructions such as "Listen to each phrase. Then circle one answer or the other." Four brief audio clips are played, and repeated if necessary. Students share answers in pairs. Teacher writes four pairs of answers on board while students are conferring and w/c FB. Teacher chests flash cards of 6 different clock times. Instructions: In pairs, ask your partner "What time is it? (pointing to phrase on board and w/c repeating with intonation) and miming holding up a time and answering with it. NB: This last activity will be skipped if time is running short.

Controlled Practice (additional) (6-7 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Teacher writes "BINGO!" on WB under "Telling the time" and distributes colored markers to student pairs. Instructions (done with gestures where possible): Work in pairs. I will say a time and if you have that time on your Bingo card, you cross is out. Teacher draws 9-field Bingo card on WB and mimes filling in a card, indicating winning in a row or a diagonal. Teacher speaks times on Bingo card (all are the same) until someone declares Bingo!

Freer Practice (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Teacher writes 6 sentences on WB: On Monday I usually wake up at __________________________. On Sunday I usually wake up at ___________________________. I usually go to bed at ______________________________. I use / don’t use an alarm clock. I usually / sometimes / never / often watch TV late at night. I am usually / sometimes / always / often tired at 11:00pm. Teacher reads 2-3 of the sentences and answers them, pointing at herself and writes in one answer and circles one. Teacher chests HO and points to the sentences, gesturing that they are the same. Checks student recall of adverbs of frequency on WB. Instructions, accompanied by gestures: Write in the answers for yourself. Teacher distributes HO, gesturing for individual work. Early finishers will be encouraged to add a sentence or two of their own. As students finish, teacher gestures for them to share their sentences with a partner/group. After 3-4 minutes of sharing, teacher directs attention back to the WB for w/c FB. Teacher gestures for one student to complete a sentence on the board orally from their HO. W/c repeats. This speaking practice continues until the end of class time, when the teacher shifts to asking of w/c "What time is it?" Their response ends class.

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