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Day 4 - Clocks (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)


With a new stimulus each and every day, I thought it only fair that I get to choose one each week. Clocks are something that fascinate me as they represent time and time is something that is immensely precious to us all. I hope you enjoy some of the activities we explored.



  • Time facts

  • Reading clocks

  • Adding on times

  • Converting between 12-hour and 24-hour times

Fact: my boys find telling the time on an analogue clock really hard. I genuinely believe that this is due to nearly all of the clocks they see in their life being digital. That said, it is one of those tricky concepts to master and is also a life skill. So, knowing that this was something they find tricky, I wanted to create something that would be fun, energetic and (if possible) outdoors. The idea - a treasure hunt!

Again, I must praise fabulous resource that is the internet and the many generous teachers out there. Having inputted my search criteria: 'time treasure hunt', I was faced with pages and pages of possibilities. Having spent a while trawling through a few, I came across this gem - my thanks to the author Harryjob on TES for sharing. The resource is free, although you will need a free TES login to access the documents.

Here is what we did:

  1. Armed with 20 question cards like the one above, I set about hiding clues around the garden. To add a bit of fun, I wrote a clue on the back to let them know where to find the next question (e.g. Down this you like to glide. It's not a swing, it is a _________).

  2. Before they set off, we quickly went over the basics of time, such as counting in 5s around a clock face, how many minutes in an hour and hours in a day, etc. I knew there would be new learning that would come up during the hunt as this activity surpassed some of their prior knowledge, but I told them this in advance. The rules - if stuck come and (a) ask for a clue, (b) ask for some support or (c) ask for some teaching.

  3. As they worked their way through the 20 clues, they revisited all of their prior knowledge of time in a fun, engaging way. This also really helped me to understand what they did and did not know so that I can revisit this later on. Just watch out for the mistake on slide 2 as it should read: 'How many minutes are there in 5 hours', not 7 hours.

Here is what the boys said about the time treasure hunt:

Here are the photos of the hunt:

We also played a game of 'What's the Time Mr Wolf' to keep Finley entertained and also reinforce today's learning. If you want to make your own version of this game, in essence it is a matching game. Make a pile of digital times and a pile of analogue times and, in try to pair them. You can play this like snap or like an hidden pairs game.



  • Fiction / narrative (portal story)

  • Seeing through the eyes of a character

  • Setting description

The idea for this bit of creative writing came to me whilst listening to If you are not familiar with this, you are missing out on an amazing resource so do tune in daily at 9:30am - the show is fantastic!

Anyway, on 30th March, whilst introducing the live show, Pie Corbett raised the question - where did the hour go that we lost this weekend? At 2am, on the 29th March, British summer time kicked in, the clocks jumped on an hour and we all lost an hour in our day. So where did it go?

This made me chuckle and wonder if, perhaps, there is a moment when you could become trapped between two worlds...just as the clocks jump forward. There is something strangely supernatural about the whole why not? And if you were to become trapped between the two worlds, what would you see? What might be trapped there with you?

  1. Begin by making a list of all the things that we have lost in the past, e.g. toys, gloves, the dice from a game, etc.

  2. Next list all of the things that are lost in the world, e.g. extinct animals, emotions, memories, great leaders, inspiring people, etc.

  3. Discuss how, in the 'lost hour', anything is possible and anything can be found...just momentarily. We talked about our favourite things that we would include and generated some language to help describe these.

  4. Using the little story starter below, we wrote a short piece of narrative based on being trapped in this lost hour. In hindsight, this was quite a challenge for the boys, but they gave it their best shot. We hope you enjoy some of the ideas.

The Lost Hour

Sid stared at the clock - 01:59. In one minute, his world would lose an hour. He knew he should be fast asleep but he had to see for himself. Turning the door handle, he stepped outside.


The Lost Hour

Sid stared at the clock - 01:59. In one minute, his world would lose an hour. He knew he should be fast asleep but he had to see for himself. Turning the door handle, he stepped outside.

A blanket of mist hung over the garden, smothering the sky. The moon's pallid light peered through like a panicked lighthouse. Then the world became clear.

Sid's eyes widened in astonishment. There, skulking in the shadows, a sabre-toothed tiger prowled. Its scythed teeth were poised like a butcher's blade. Above him, pterodactyls swarmed, their strangled screams piercing the silence. Lost socks and gloves cowered in distant corners, trembling in terror. A solitary puzzle piece pirouetted across the lawn like tumble weed, whilst dice and marbles rolypolied across the patio. All around him, luggage was piled high in leaning towers, filled with sought-after treasures and missing memories.

What was this madness? Sid wondered. And then a wave of realisation washed over him. This was the land of the lost, living in the lost hour.

© Jamie Thomas 2020

The Lost Hour by Joshua (9)

Josh stared at the clock - 01:59. In one minute, his world would lose an hour. He knew he should be fast asleep but he had to see for himself. Turning the door handle, he stepped outside.

Thunder rumbled ominously and then crashed and howled overhead. He saw a puddle which turned into a pitch black ocean. Trees turned into bent forests. In front of him, a shadow dragon breathed smoky fire. He stared in fright as time ticked on.

Dashing into the forest, Joshua crashed into something. He looked behind him but was locked in a cage in the sea. In the blink of an eye, a Baiji white dolphin flipped out of the water and dived under the ocean. It pushed him back to land...back to the dragon.

The shadow dragon picked him up and took him back to his nest. As he flew, he saw a sabre-toothed tiger fighting a West African black rhinoceros. Josh asked the dragon what was going on and he told him that they didn't like each other so that's why they fought.

Suddenly, Josh woke up. He was in his bed. Had it all been a dream?

The Lost Hour by Archie (7)

I stared at the clock - 01:59. In one minute, my world would lose an hour. I knew I should be fast asleep but I had to see for myself. Turning the door handle, I stepped outside.

The grass was so soggy that meant one thing - an ocean. I ran as fast as I could but I couldn't make it. Luckily, I landed in a boat. The moon was golden like the shiniest pencil in the world. As the grass disappeared, fog blocked my sight. I couldn't see anything. I froze like something stuck in an ice cube.

Before me, I could see my lost stripy glove, waving to me. Then I saw a wet wooly mammoth rolypolying across the ocean. I thought that was strange. Suddenly, a sabre-toothed tiger sat on top of me saying its twelve times table. I wondered what was happening to me. In the blink if an eye, a West African black rhino charged at my boat and jumped over it, growling, "Howdy partner. Are you ok? Bye partner!" Then it dashed off, leaving me in the darkness. My mind span in a whirlpool. I fainted.


I hope you have enjoyed today's home-schooling in English and maths. If you have, please do follow our blog (or follow me on Twitter) and tune in tomorrow where the stimulus is my son Archie's choice...



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