“What time is it?” I asked. “WE’RE ON VACATION!!” yelled my friend’s mom.😲 Even though she didn’t care about time on vacation, telling time in Spanish can be an important skill if you plan to use public transportation or want to fit in (and hopefully avoid expensive tourist prices) when travelling in Spanish-speaking countries.
This is your simple start to telling time in Spanish. Normally a lesson on telling time includes the whole shebang: learn the hours and the minutes in one lesson. This can be a lot of information at one time (especially for Spanish learners). I think it’s much better for kids to move through a lesson on telling time slowly.
So to simplify learning time in Spanish and make the experience more successful, I broke it up into three parts. This first part just focuses on each hour and each half hour. For instance, 1:00 and 1:30.
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How I Used the Lessons for Telling Time in Spanish with My Kids
Before starting this lesson, there are two requirements: knowing how to tell time in English AND knowing at least the numbers 1 – 12 in Spanish. Please, please, please do NOT do this lesson if your kids can’t tell time in English. Trying to teach kids to tell time in English and Spanish will be confusing and frustrating. Especially once we get to the lesson with the second half of the hour. 😵
And please do NOT do this lesson if kids don’t know the numbers 1 – 12. Trying to learn the numbers in Spanish at the same time as learning to tell time will be too much. You can complete my lesson for numbers first.
Total Physical Response (TPR)
I was trying to figure out if I should make the flashcards and activities with analog or digital clocks. I made clipart for both and then asked a few people which one. As adults we all liked the analog clock better.
The problem is that many of my high-school students can’t read an analog clock. It really gets in the way of teaching time in Spanish because first I have to teach telling time with the clock in English. Then I throw Spanish into the mix, and the lesson starts out as a big mess.
I showed Aidan both the clocks and didn’t even finish asking which one when he said digital. Then he said, “That shouldn’t even be a question.” 😂
In the end, I decided to use both digital clocks and analog clocks because I think analog clocks are easier to tell time in Spanish with the second half of the hour (which will be in a later lesson). And, really, kids should know how to read analog clocks regardless of the language.
The flashcards have the time like a digital clock to help kids visualize the time with what they hear. Even though explaining the use of las and la is done in a traditional grammar lesson (and I didn’t think it would make a difference), Aidan likes things explained, so I decided to very briefly explain it to him.
When I gave Aidan the flashcards and the vocabulary, I started to explain that the numbers 2 – 12 use son and las and didn’t even finish when he said, “Yeah, and the one is es and la.” I was a bit shocked, and said, “Yes, and do you know why?” He said, “Yeah, because 2 – 12 are plural, and 1 isn’t.” 🎉
This is why I love teaching Spanish with comprehensible input! 💗 I love seeing kids recognizing patterns of the language and putting it together on their own just from hearing and reading it. I didn’t see those kinds of results when I used to teach traditional grammar-based lessons.
Anyway, I used the script and read the times and Aidan pointed to the corresponding flashcards. I had him try out the videos too. There is a video to practice the hour and then a video to practice the half hour.
He is very competitive, and I told him he had to get the correct flashcard before the time showed on each video. He took it very seriously and lined up all of his cards so he would be able to grab the right one fast. 😄
Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA) aka Conversation
Normally, this is an activity that I spend a lot of time on because the conversation and mini-stories are really important to learning Spanish (and my favorite part when kids are creative). But there are only about 10 questions with this lesson, so this went fast.
There are two reading activities: the first is matching a clock with the time in a sentence and the second is reading the time and then writing it with numbers.
For another reading activity, I created a Kahoot (a quiz game) that only has hours and half hours for the time. If you don’t have a Kahoot account, you’ll need to make one (it’s free) if you want to play. Then search for “la hora fosternm” to play my Kahoot. There are lots of quizzes for time on Kahoot, but they will have different times including from the second half of the hour. Those will be good to play later after completing all of the time lessons.
Besides Kahoot (which I always think of as a reading activity), you can play 3 games with the flashcards: Peces (Go Fish), Memoria (Memory), and/or Matamoscas (Flyswatter). I have the instructions for each game in case you haven’t played any of these before.
Learning how to understand and say the time in Spanish can help you avoid travelling misadventures like missing your bus or being stuck paying for overpriced meals at restaurants during prime tourist time. Completing the TPR activity with the flashcards first will give you and your kids a jump start to telling time in Spanish!
Did you do these activities? Or know anyone who wants to start teaching their kids to tell time in Spanish? Please tell me about it in the comments below and share with the buttons on the left!