Playing Card Time

by Neil Maher

Level: 3rd and 4th grade Elementary
Time: 10 minutes or more
Target language: Telling the time
Resources: A deck of cards (2 decks if you have a class bigger than 15 students)



This game is for getting the kids asking each other "What time is it?" and answering "It's...o'clock" and "It's...thirty".


1. First teach the kids "What time is it?" and the answers "It's...o'clock" and "It's...thirty".

2. Break the class into small groups of 3 or 4. Give each group about 15 cards with at least 2 "face cards" (king, queen, jack) and put them face down on the desk

3. Kid A asks Kid B "What time is it?". Kid B pulls a card from the deck. If it is a number card (such as 4 of diamonds) Kid B answers "It's 4 o'clock". Then Kid B asks Kid C "What time is it?" and so on.

4. If Kid B pulls a face card from the deck he then pulls other cards until he gets a number card (say 4 of diamonds). Then he answers "It's 4 thirty". Then Kid B asks Kid C "What time is it?". The face cards mean the half hour times.

Once they get the idea of the game you can wander from group to group checking on them. The kids police themselves and there is no cheating. The stronger students tend to help the weaker ones as well. The game revolves around the tension of not knowing what card the student is going to pull. For some reason they all think that "it'scthirty" is more difficult than o'clock" but they all want to pull a face card! This game is also good for checking on their pronunciation of thirty (so often confused with thirteen).

This game has been officially classed by my 3rd and 4th graders as being good fun and they keep asking to play it.


(C) Copyright 2002 Neil Maher


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