Teachers quickly learn that telling doesn’t automatically lead to doing.

But why not?

It’s not usually enough to say to a child, “You have 10 minutes to finish this.” Young students know (1) that time exists and (2) it moves forward; however, managing a task within a timespan is an unclear notion for many youths. They haven’t lived through enough events to accurately gauge the passing of time.

So, visual aids work well to strengthen comprehension – and that’s the benefit of Online Stopwatch. It’s a free site with various types of countdown timers.

timer stopwatch

I use centres all the time in my classrooms. But when I’m doing guided reading with one group of kids, I sometimes spot others off topic. Like, trying to erase an eraser with another eraser. (“I love your experiment but not right now, Shotaro.”)

It’s distracting to me and other students if I remind people out loud to focus on their task. But paired with an overhead projector or interactive whiteboard, Online Stopwatch means I don’t need to interrupt with verbal reminders; students can occasionally glance to see the countdown and then whisper, “Hurry up and finish before the bomb explodes!

timer bomb

Pictured: motivation

Since young children haven’t yet mastered the concept (or the language) of time, I often rely on the hourglass timer as it visually shows how much sand is left.

timer hourglass

Like pixelated sands through the computer-generated hourglass… so are the days of our lives.

The site also features a metronome, a chess clock, an interval timer and others.

Online Stopwatch. More tick, less talk.


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Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.


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