It’s safe to say that most young children have a hazy understanding of the progression of time at best. Learning to distinguish the passing of time, and reading time are concepts that require consistent practice in order to sink in. Most children won’t master the art of telling time as a result of a short lesson explaining the technique used to read an analog clock. Rock ‘N Learn’s educational DVD Telling Time combines audio and visual learning in a fun format for children ages six and older to learn to tell time using both analog and digital clocks (basic recognition of numbers 1 to 60 is required for best results).
Computer animated host Timothy Time (an analog clock) and his friend Kuku (from a cuckoo clock), guide children through the largest bulk of the DVD – the parts focusing on telling time on a traditional analog clock face. Timothy introduces children to the concepts needed to tell time successfully in a logical order. Starting with the parts of a clock, he starts with the simplest time-telling tasks – telling time to the hour, telling time to the half hour – and moves on to the more complex tasks – telling time to the quarter hour, telling time to five minutes, and telling time to the exact minute. Plenty of practice is provided both in skip counting by fives, and in time-telling sessions. Because digital clocks are so simple to read, Timothy’s friend Diggy (a rapping digital clock) steps in to teach a brief segment on the straightforward method used to read digital clocks.
In addition to the disc containing a full-fledged course in telling time, a bonus lesson includes a wide variety of information that explains the larger sweep of time. This lesson includes an introduction to calendars, days of the week, months of the year, and the number of days in each month. A visual demonstration the progression from seconds to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, and all the way up to a millennium brings the 35-minute DVD to a close.
Some of the animated representations of passing time in “AM and PM” are rather funny – a boy hoisting an entire turkey for his lunch, and a girl chomping on a whole loaf of bread for supper. Those familiar with Rock ‘N Learn’s most recent releases will also find the animation a bit more stilted in this older title than in their newer discs. Educational facts featuring the root words of terms relating to time, sundials, atomic clocks, etc. are included between segments – my daughter loves them and always insists I read them aloud.
Some Rock ‘N Learn DVDs sometimes include full-fledged songs to help children remember facts. Telling Time instead uses a variety of music to back the rhythmic instructional speech of the hosts as they provide children with all of the teaching necessary to read time. I’m impressed by how Timothy Time relates the techniques used to tell time in rhythmic, rhyming verse that is easier for children to remember. One mnemonic song that summarizes the entire process is taught near the end of the DVD during the segment “Telling Time to the Exact Minute”. Parents should watch along with their children so they can reinforce the concepts being presented by incorporating them in daily life.
I watch along with my six-year-old daughter and pause the DVD during the test section, reminding of the necessary steps (if required) to decipher the time. If I let the built in time runs he gets very anxious, so we just take it easy, when she’s more advanced we can let it play through. She’s making good progress, and with enough time she can consistently tell time in five-minute intervals after watching the disc occasionally over a three-week period. That might seem like awhile, but we’ve been very casual. She loves the Telling Time DVD so this learning process has been incredibly fun for her.
A video sample can be viewed online at the Rock ‘n Learn website.
1. Learning Time Today
2. Parts of an Analog clock
3. Telling Time to the Hour
4. AM and PM
5. Telling Time to the Half Hour
6. Telling Time to the Quarter Hour
7. Practice Counting by Fives
8. Telling Time to Five Minutes
9. Fun Review and Practice
10. Telling Time to the Exact Minute
11. Digital Clocks
12. Bonus: Calendars, Days of the Week, Months of the Year