Time Timers are my absolute favorite teacher accessory. I have been using them for years, and love the fact that they are so versatile. Time Timers are very low-tech. I find this to be a big benefit. Instead of needing to change a screen or open a new tab on my interactive white board, I can just set the timer by hand.
The visual cues help all students–including students with disabilities. Parents have told me that they even like to use them at home to keep routines on track. Here are ten ways Time Timers can be useful in your classroom:
1. Classroom management
With a particularly difficult class, the more structure the better. You can set expectations about time to complete certain tasks very easily with this timer. Find out more about how I learned to manage my class here.
2. Warm up countdown
I keep my timer on the ledge of my white board. As soon as the bell rings, I slide the timer over to 5 minutes. Then, students silently begin working on their bellringer, which I have on the board when they walk in. This creates a smooth transition and gives me time to take attendance.
3. Time myself lecturing
Students can only focus their attention for so long. When a student is about 12 years old, they can probably focus for a max of 12 minutes during a lecture. With this in mind, I can use my Time Timer to keep myself on track. Once I’ve talked for that long, I know it is time to give them a moment to do a think-pair-share, turn and talk, etc. The visual timer helps me keep lectures concise.
4. Parent conferences
Conference days can be busy, with lots of parents to fit in the schedule. When each conference is allotted 20 minutes, you can set the Time Timer to make sure the team stays on track. This has helped us respect everyone’s time on many occasions.
5. Timed tests and essays
Students can see exactly how much time they have left when completing tests, quizzes, or in-class essays.
6. Time left until transition on days when the schedule changes
My school has many days when we use a modified schedule to fit in a pep-rally, early dismissal, etc. The schedule can be confusing on these days, so setting the Time Timer keeps us all aware of remaining time in class.
7. Student presentations
You can time student presentations so that they don’t go over their allotted 5 minutes to make that speech or give their report. This keeps your entire schedule on track.
8. Reading time
Students can benefit greatly from even just 20 minutes of reading a day. You can use the Time Timer to organize this easily.
9. Group work
Giving students time to do a Think-Pair-Share or any type of group work is so much easier with a clear stopping point.
10. Teaching analog clocks
Finally, one of the incidental benefits of using a Time Timer is that students can better understand how the minutes work on an analog clock. If you teach younger students, this is a great way to bring a visual cue into those lessons.
I find that Time Timers are durable and will last several years. Setting the timer actually a lot of fun–it’s a really well made product. My only criticism is that the alarm is incredibly loud and jarring. I wish it had a real bell instead of an electronic beep, or at least a setting to make it quieter. Mine is muted most of the time!
How do you use timers in your classroom? Have you ever tried a Time Timer?
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