In one of my early years of teaching, I was given a Time Timer to use in my classroom. I have since moved schools and had to buy my own Time Timer. I use it so often that I sometimes wonder what I did before my Time Timer days.
I love this timer because it shows a piece of red for the given amount of time. As time passes, the red gets smaller. The visual is fantastic for students. Some of the newer Time Timers also have a buzzer that, when turned on, beeps when the time runs out .
Here are 5 ways I use my Time Timer on a daily basis:
1. At snack time – I set the timer for 12 minutes for snack. Students know that when the timer runs out, everyone puts away the rest of their snack.
2. As a clean up warning – I give students a 10 minute warning for clean up time. It gives them time to finish up what they are working on and helps them switch from something they want to be doing (playing) to something I want them to be doing (clean up).
3. As a signal to rotate centres – If a new center is overly popular, setting the timer to let students know when it is time to switch can be helpful. (The only time I would limit time in a centre is when it is something new so that everyone has a chance to check it out before home time).
4. As a reminder not to rush – For students who tend to hurry through a given task to move on to something else, setting the timer for a required amount of time can remind them to slow down and do their best work. If they finish before the timer, they need work on improving their work until the timer runs out.
5. And to keep me on track – Any time I tell students that they have __ minutes to do something, setting the timer helps me keep my word. Before my Time Timer days, I would often say things like “In 5 minutes…” or “You have __ minutes to…” and while I got busy working with students, 5 minutes could easily turn to 10 or 15 minutes without me even noticing. When I set the timer, nobody lets me lose track of time!
If you are looking to buy your own Time Timer, they can be ordered from places like Spectrum or Scholars Choice or can be bought directly from most “teacher stores”.