How To Teach: Time Management Skills

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers teacher experience teacherspayteachers transition Nov 08, 2021
Importance of Time Management
Like it or not, being able to manage one’s time is a quality that is often judged. If you are late, then you are lazy, unaware, or unmotivated. If you are early then you are prepared, punctual, and responsible. Being able to manage time is a skill and it can be taught. Next to cooking, time management might be the most important functional math lesson you could teach!
Focus Skills
-How long a length of time feels
-Calculating time backward
-Calculating time forward
-Associated a length of time to a visual
-Length of time to complete common tasks
-Using technology to manage time
-Reading a clock
Why Focus On These Skills
If a student plans to attend college, get a volunteer or paid job, or wants to enjoy social activities outside the home, then time management will be a necessary skill to practice (and master). While some of your students are highly focused on time, others have little to no interest in time. Showing the latter group how this skill can reflect on how others see them (no matter if that is right or wrong) may speak to those who are a little less interested with reading the clock and a little more interested in hanging out with others.
When To Teach
Time management is a great skill to introduce if your students have the opportunity to plan an event or community outing. There are so many opportunities to address time management, such as estimating time, calculating time forward, calculating time backward, and if they actually get to execute the event or outing, they can track how close they were to estimating and how well they stayed on time. From there, students will have a reference point to estimating lengths of time, calculating time forward and backward, and may have a stronger understanding of how to manage their time in other settings and situations.
I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!
Students will identify 3 lengths of time us a visual, use a timeline to calculate
time forward and backward, set a timer/alarm, and put task in logical order.
Lesson Vocabulary
Time, management, forward, backward, order, task, timeline
  • Pre and Post assessment
  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)
  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills
  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)
  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment
  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)
  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)
  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)
  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics
  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement
  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills
  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting
  • Word search of key vocabulary terms
  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics
Ultimate Goal
If your students can achieve counting 5 or 15 minutes backwards from a time to know when to leave so they don’t miss the bus or counting ahead to know when they will be done with a task, like homework, then your students have achieved the ultimate goal. Time management is mostly abstract, but getting students to see when to count backward and when to count forward is a true skill to be mastered!
Link to Curriculum

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