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3 Classroom Clock Ideas You'll Need to Try This School Year

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Photo of Jeanne Sager
Updated | 3 min read

Schools may feel like the last place in America to still have a giant analog clock on the wall, but a classroom clock can be invaluable for teachers. Not only do students still need to learn all about time as part of their elementary education, but this simple resource can keep your entire day running more smoothly.

But how do you make your classroom clock more useful? And what about classroom clock decor to make that circle way up near the top of the wall easier to read for younger students who haven’t yet conquered the skill of telling time? We put together not only some of our favorite classroom clock decor ideas but some ideas on making sure this is a useful part of your learning environment.

Why Should Kids Read Analog Clocks?

Maybe you’ve heard a little pushback from students who struggle to read a traditional clock or parents who have told you British schools have abandoned the old ways (some have!), or maybe your classroom clock is broken and the janitor doesn’t think it’s a priority. Either way, you could probably use a little back-up that proves the kids in your classroom need that analog clock and need it to work!

Because they can watch the hands of your classroom clock moving, analog clocks help young learners who still think in concrete terms to better understand the passage of time. This is part and parcel of the process of developing time management skills and understanding when you have only so much time left to complete a lesson. They’re even helpful in primary classrooms where students are still learning what each numeral signifies. Unlike with digital clocks that require understanding what a numeral means, an analog clock allows teachers to use location of the clock hands, noting “when the big hand gets past the very bottom, we will head to the library.”

And yes, it’s worth noting that if you’re teaching in a Common Core state, learning to read an analog clock is part of the curriculum that’s not negotiable.

Classroom Clock Decor

Have you wandered the school building or kicked around on TikTok and noticed teachers with some seriously cool classroom clock displays? Yes, the teachers on the Teach Starter team have been in that envy seat with you! So we have a few fun ways to jazz up your classroom clock and make it the star of the show!

Create Classroom Clock Flowers

Just about every classroom clock we’ve ever seen is round, and it had us immediately thinking of the center of a flower, hence our Flower Clock Display! Each petal is numbered at 5-minute intervals to help students who aren’t yet translating the 11 in the upper left to “55 minutes.” Add the little bees to help students relate words like “quarter to” and “half past” to specific points on the clock.

classroom clock decoration flower

Colorful Classroom Clock Labels

Are you teaching time this school year? Rather than decorating the clock, you may want to add specific labels all around your classroom clock as a guide for students as you’re starting this lesson on how to “read the clock.” This printable clock label template includes all the labels for the 5-minute increments to serve as a scaffold for your learners.

classroom clock labels

 

Trying to teach clockwise and counterclockwise? Add arrows that direct students on which way to read a clock!

Classroom Clocks That Matter

When we were talking to teachers about their favorite classroom decorating ideas, this idea from teacher Jeanie Culip to use your clock as the “o” in “you” for an inspiring message made us nearly burst. Your students are going to look at your classroom clock every single day, and we can’t think of a better way to make those glances at the time have a more meaningful impact on our students who could always use a boost.

the words you can do great things on a classroom wall with a classroom clock forming the o in the word. you

Teaching time this school year? Choose from dozens of “teaching time” resources created by expert teachers!

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