Mathematics: Time

Telling the time is an area which some students pick up very easily and others struggle. I can remember as a kid being so excited when Mum agreed to buy me my first ever watch – it was a Little Mermaid / Ariel watch with water in the face and a starfish that floated. There was a proviso though put on this item
– Mum would only buy it when I could tell the time on both an analogue and digital clock. Guess what I spent the next couple of weeks practising over and over!

While it is great to get students to make their own digital clocks I am very much a realist and I know that sometimes a teacher just can’t fit in all those wonderful activities – especially making things from scratch. Here is what I came up with for learning to read a digital clock (I find students pick this up much quicker than analogue and it helps to support the learning as they have the confidence of already knowing ‘something’). This is a little kit – you could print off a set each for the students – great for whole class activities or print and laminate a few (which I did) to use in math centres.

Boandik (Bunganditj) Language

Here is my second posting of word wall cards featuring the Boandik language. This time I have created a set of colour words.
There are seven (7) cards in total with the following colours: red, black, brown, blue, ochre (cream), white and green.

How might you use these cards in your classroom? Subject areas that come to mind include art, science and English – an activity using the colours to describe the outside world. Go on a field trip to explore native plants in the area and use these traditional words.

Boandik (Bunganditj) Language

The Australian Curriculum has a focus on students learning about the local indigenous/aboriginal tribes in the area where they live. For many teachers they have an abundance of information and members of the tribe eager to pass on traditions. For those lucky teachers planning and implementing indigenous education is quite simple…and then there are the rest of us.

I live in Mount Gambier and there is very limited information available about the local indigenous people – the Boandiks (they are also referred to as Bunganditj and in early history as Booandik). With limited resources (though there is a dedicated team working on collating and preserving their history and language) currently available it often seems daunting to teach students about something which you have little knowledge about yourself. Often it isn’t a lack of enthusiasm but a question of where to start and where to find resources and information.

This is where my creative little brain takes over to give teachers a starting point. I love word walls. They give assistance to students and create a buzz in the classroom – basically by starting with just a few words you can hook in even the most reluctant student!

I decided therefore to start with a collection of words to do with creepy crawlers. There are bugs, ants and spiders (amongst a few others) and each card comes complete with the word in the Boandik language and supported by a picture. All you need to do it print, cut, laminate and start to use!

This is the first of the sets I will be creating. My aim is to do at least two sets a week (but I’ll see how I go).


Walk In My Shoes going through a folder today I found my transition “getting to know you” activity. I have used this activity in grades 1-3 and found it to be very versatile.

I give students the option of drawing or writing and find that even my low-literacy students will do some writing.

This activity adds a splash of colour and information ready for acquaintance night.  For schools that use portfolios each term this piece makes an excellent reflective work sample for the final term. I get students to reflect on what they wrote, how they presented the information and how they think they have grown.

Sorting through the endless boxes of school resources I have been thinking a lot about the activities that I do in the first week with students. It is the time that you spend getting to know the students and get a feel about the dynamics the class may have as a whole. Like most teachers I do many activities so I think it is best to look at them one at a time.

Puzzle Pieces
To start with I am going to write about puzzle pieces. I really like this activity for a number of reasons:
1. You get to see each student’s handwriting
2. You get to see their likes/dislikes and interests
3. You get to see their creativity and personality

I like to do this activity on the transition day if possible. By doing it the year before I can have all the pieces up ready for the first day of school. I like to have these laminated and up on a pin-up board with Velcro so that they last the distance. Here’s mine that I use as an example:

I have tried two different sets of puzzle pieces but I really like the set by Megan McMahon on TPT. The pieces are a little more varied in shapes and not so “boxy”. There are also 28 pieces so for the average junior primary Australian classroom there are enough pieces for each student along with a few spares as students leave and enroll. Just a note about this product: when I purchased mine there was one piece though that has the arrow up the wrong way – so check before you hand them out to the students!

A great activity which gives insight into the students you’ll be teaching.