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This is a really good lesson for introducing your students to telling the time as it contains key vocab and structures. The gestures in the song are easy and fun – your students will enjoy swinging their arms around with the times in the song.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm Up and Maintenance:

See our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.


New Learning and Practice:

1. Introduce a clock and review numbers 1 to 12
Start the lesson by bringing in a clock or alternatively make a craft clock using our clock craft sheet. Elicit and chorus the word "clock". Then point to number 1 and elicit the number. Point to each number 1-12 in order and elicit the numbers (you can move the hour hand around as you do this).

Introduce a clock and review numbers 1 to 12

Practice recognizing numbers 1-122. Practice recognizing numbers 1-12
Before class prepare twelve A4 sheets of paper with a number (1-12) written on each piece. Place the numbers randomly around the walls of the classroom at a height where your student can reach them. In class, draw your students’ attention to the numbers and say "Point to number 1". Everyone should point. Then go through all the numbers 1-12.

3. Play "Touch the numbers on the wall"
Get everyone standing in the middle of the classroom. Shout "Touch Number 7!". Everyone should run and touch that number – it will be a mad scramble but good fun! Then go through the rest of the numbers.

Play "Touch the numbers on the wall"

4. Write the numbers on the board
Along the top of the board write the numbers in order 1-12. Divide the class into 4 teams and get each team to elect a representative to write on the board. Have the 4 students come to the board and tell them they are going to race to write the numbers 1-12. The winner will win a point for their team. Say "Ready – Steady – Go!" and the 4 students race to write the numbers. Then get another 4 students to have a go. At the end the team with the most points is the winner.

Write the numbers on the board

5. Teach the time vocab
Hold up your clock and set a time (e.g. 4 o’clock). Ask the class "What time is it?". Elicit / teach "It's 4 o'clock". Move the hand to another time, and ask again (you can also ask "Please could you tell me the time?"). Go through the hours eliciting the times from the class until they have got the hang of the structures.

Teach the time vocab

6. Practice the gestures of the song
Stand everyone in front of you. Say "Point your hands at 1 o’clock" and demonstrate how to do this (hold one arm straight up at 12 and the other at 1). Then say “Point you hands at 2 o’clock” … continue all the way round to 12 o’clock.

Practice the gestures of the song

7. Sing the "What Time Is It?" song
Now everybody is ready to do the gestures for the song "What Time Is It?". Start the song and demonstrate moving your arms to show the times as the song is sung - get everyone to follow you and sing along.

Lyrics for "What time is it?"


What time is it?
What time is it?
Please could you tell me the time?

Verse 1:
It’s one o’clock
It’s two o’clock
It’s three o’clock
It’s four o’clock
It’s five o’clock
It’s six o’clock



Verse 2:
It’s seven o’clock
It’s eight o’clock
It’s nine o’clock
It’s ten o’clock
It’s eleven o’clock
It’s twelve o’clock


(download MP3 here)

Gestures for "What time is it?"

For this song your students are going to be human clocks, using their arms to show the time. Have everybody stand up with plenty of room to move their arms around without hitting anyone.

  1. For the question words sing along and hold your hands out, palms up, in the question gesture.
  2. For the times, hold your arms straight out in the time position. So, for 1 o’clock, hold one arm straight up towards 12 and the other arm towards one. As the song continues, one arm will move around the clock counting off each hour.

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

What time is it?

Do the Clock Craft Sheet8. Do the Clock Craft sheet
Before class print out the clock shape craft sheet – enough so that each student has one. You can either cut out the shapes before class or have your students cut out the shapes in class. You will also need fasteners for each clock to fasten the arms to the clock. After constructing the clocks, put students in pairs. First model the activity with a student. Student A sets a time on his/her clock and asks "What time is it?" or "Please could you tell me the time?". Their partner answers. Each pair takes it in turn to ask each other.

9. Read classroom reader "What Time Is It?"
By now your students will have had a good amount of practice telling the time so we can reinforce the new phrases with a fun story. Before class, download and print off the reader "What Time Is It?". As you go through each page, point to the clocks in each picture and elicit the times they are showing, for example:

Read classroom reader "What Time Is It?"Teacher: (reading from page 1) "One day Colin Clock met his friend, Ana clock" ... Which one do you think is Colin Clock?
Students: The blue one!
Teacher: Yes, that's right. (pointing at the clocks) ... This is Colin Clock and this is Ana Clock. What color is Ana Clock?
Students: Pink!
Teacher: Yes, pink! (reading from page 1) “Oh dear!”, said Colin Clock. “What time is it?” ... Let's look. What time is Colin Clock showing? (pointing at Colin Clock)
Students: 3 o'clock!
Teacher: Good Job! And how about Ana Clock? (pointing at Ana Clock)
Students: 7 o'clock!
Teacher: Yes! But they both have different times! (Teacher looks puzzled). (Reading on ...) "Let's ask Tom Clock" ... etc.

Continue through the story, asking for the times. Get the students really involved in the story by asking lots of questions (e.g. about the clock colors) and even ask yes/no questions about the times on the clocks (making mistakes, of course), for example:

Read classroom reader "What Time Is It?" Teacher: (reading from page 3) "“Hello Tom Clock!”, said Ana Clock. “What time is it?”" ... What time is Tom Clock showing? Is it 2 o'clock?
Students: No!
Teacher: No? Well, what time is it? (pointing at Tom Clock)
Students: 1 o'clock!
Teacher: Is it? (Looking more closely). Oh, yes it is! Well done! etc.

After reading the story, give out a reader worksheet to each student and read through the story one more time (without stopping for questions, etc.) as students the write the order that the clocks appear in the story and the times they show on their faces. Then go through the answers as a class.


Alternatively, watch our video version of the reader (Internet connection required):

10. Play "What time do you?"
Still using the clocks, your students are going to show you the time they usually do things. Ask the class questions, such as "What time do you usually wake up?" (if they are not sure you can use gestures to show what you mean). As you ask the questions, everyone should move the hands on their clock to the time they do these activities. Then select some students to orally tell you their time (e.g. "I wake up at 7 o’clock"). We are only concentrating on "o'clock" for this lesson, so if students have times on their clock such as 7.20 you can teach "About 7 o’clock".

Other routine questions you can ask the time for could be: eat breakfast / lunch / dinner, go to bed, go to school, leave school, take a bath, do homework, brush teeth, etc.

Play "What time do you?"

Wrap Up:

1. Assign Homework: "What time is it?" worksheet.
2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.

Print Outs / Worksheets:

Songs & Readers:

Additional materials:

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