Telling Time: Story and Activity

Oooh! I have to post this before I forget (since my blog is my file system!). One great way that we discussed using Fan’N’Pick is to practice the difference between “a las” and “son las” (AT x o’clock vs. IT IS x o’clock). I have no idea why this is so difficult for students…if you want to say “AT” such-and-such a time, use “A”…but for whatever reason, it is. I wrote up a quick story that focuses on those two structures and made a slideshow to go along with it. Added a few discussion/communicative activities and some notes…and voilá! A comprehensible input-centered lesson on telling time. Download it here.

At this point in the year, you should be able to use the story in any class without trouble. Just introduce the new structures as usual. If you use it at the beginning of next year, wait until you’ve already taught Cierra la puerta, Siéntate, and Buscando un animal doméstico, because the story contains structures from those lessons.

Before you read the story as a class, I would recommend asking it to develop a class version. You will get more reps with the structures AND you can compare and contrast the two.

As a follow-up activity, use  Fan’N’Pick .

On the question cards, print clock faces. Student B chooses a card, Student A asks, “¿Qué hora es?”, and Student B says what time it is with a complete sentence (It is 9 o’clock in the morning). Student C then asks, “What do you do AT 9:00 in the morning?” or “Where are you at 9:00am?”, and Student B responds with a complete sentence.

Again, as with any production-centered activity (vs. input-centered), its value will be determined by the quality of the monitoring that you are able to provide: you need to make sure that students are practicing correctly so that they do not internalize incorrect structures. I would not recommend doing this activity without first doing the story so that the students have loads of comprehensible input in which the structures are used correctly before they have a go at it on their own.



This is Paul. Today is a special day for Paul because he is going to Hawaii on an airplane.

It’s 8:00am. Paul is in his bed. The plane leaves for Hawaii at 10:30am.

It’s 8:30am. Paul’s mom opens the door and sees that Paul is still in his bed. She is frustrated. She yells, “Get up, Paul! The plane leaves at 10:30!” Paul gets ready quickly.

Now, it’s 9:00am. Paul and his mom are in the car. There is a lot of traffic and Paul is worried because the plane leaves at 10:30am.

It’s 9:30am and Paul and his mom are still in the car. Paul sees the airport in the distance and says, “Let’s go, mom! The plane leaves at 10:30!”

Paul says, “Bye mom! and enters the airport. There are a lot of people. Paul looks at his watch. It’s 10:00. Paul doesn’t have a lot of time because the plane leaves at 10:30.

Paul looks at the people and is worried. He has to pass through security, but there are a lot of people there.

Finally, Paul passes through security. He looks at his watch. It’s 10:25am. The plane leaves at 10:30.

Paul quickly runs through the airport and sees the plane that’s going to Hawaii in the distance. Paul looks at his watch. It’s 10:30am. The plane leaves at 10:30!

Paul runs some more and sees a person next to the plane’s door. Paul yells, “Don’t close the door! I am going to Hawaii!”

The person responds, “It’s already 10:30, and the plane leaves right now”. The person closes the door.

Paul is very sad because now he isn’t going to Hawaii.

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