• Heather

How to Teach Time Management

Updated: Apr 4

Our next topic in the Consumer Math Blog Series is about how to teach Time Management. Read more about why and how you can teach Time Management using my Time Management Lesson Unit (click here to get your copy).



Purpose of Teaching Time Management

Time management is the perfect mix of math and executive functioning, so it is a perfect topic to teach in your consumer math or special education math classroom! Time management is embedded into so many parts of our day and can have a real impact on how others see an individual’s character (are they always late?) and ability (can they stay focused on the task at hand?).


Time Management Lesson Unit


Key-Must-Teach Concepts

Counting Forwards. Time spans 60 minute hours in 5 minute increments. If this is a skill your students struggle with, then pre-teach clock reading/time before you jump into this.


Counting Backwards. Time management is about half counting backwards. Just like counting forwards, it may be helpful to have a visual on your main whiteboard or wall to reference to help with counting backwards. It could be a nice mix of a number line AND 15/30/45.



Lesson Objective

Estimate how long it takes to complete a task & create a schedule based on a specific time range and estimated completion time for multiple tasks.



Lesson Unit Break Down


Day 1- While this topic will not be new to probably any of your students, it’s still nice to do a proper introduction. Review how time management works into other consumer math topics using the visual flow chart and give them the brain teaser to think about. Then, jump to the reading passage (see Reading Passage Option below), then the T/F questions, and the writing prompts.


Day 2- No surprise here- today is dedicated to Notes and Parts. The content moves from general to specific to an example and students spend the day absorbing and engaging in meaningful conversation through visuals and examples.


Day 3- The Time Management Practice worksheet has students move through making a morning schedule given a few tasks and time constraints. This is a great opportunity for students to try it on their own and then for you to do a whole class review and model backward counting using time! There is a Quick Question that can be used today or Day 4!


Day 4- This practice has students continue to practice creating estimated times, but also includes a section for them to see how distractions can impact their time management. This is a GREAT way to show students how TV or their phone can hurt them from being productive and focused.



Day 5- Use the task card review suggestion below (Task Card Idea) to wrap up the lesson and then assess the students’ understanding of time management (pictured above). You can use the word search or functional math review in any order!


Time Management Lesson Unit


Reading Passage Option

Grab large pieces of poster board or butcher paper from the library and bring a set of big markers. Have students re-write the Schedule, Task, Estimate, and Accomplish onto different poster boards and hang them around the room for the week. The information is so concise (just a couple sentences) and important enough to keep visible for the week’s lesson.



Listen and Learn

A Listen & Learn is a short, 5 sentence PowerPoint/Google presentation that introduces the topic using visuals and audio. Ideal for non-readers! Read about what they are and how they might be right for your classroom here.



Task Card Idea

Practice time management within the review. Have students decide how long it should take them to answer all the questions and review the correct answers. Keep the timer up for students to see and then re-assess how close they were to meeting their estimate. Adjust the time as needed to allow students to answer each review question.


*I would use the traditional Around the Room method for this review (tape questions all around the room and have students move about the room answering them).


Time Management Lesson Unit


Further Practice Idea

A great way to practice this outside your classroom while staying in the building is giving them a timer device and a task. Set the timer to be just right so that the students can see how to move at a regular pace to get a task done. For example, give the students 4 minutes to go to their locker, open it, put something in it, and return back to class. They should have the timer and see it count down as they move through this task! Then, discuss if 4 minutes was enough time. Consider requesting a visual timer app on a school iPad for students to visually see how time is passing during the activity.




Ultimate Goal of the Lesson Unit

Time management is a skill that can be taught, so it’s a skill that can be learned. With enough practice, you can get pretty good at it! No one is 100% accurate with time management because life throws you curves, like the accident on the way home from work that doubles your commute or the massive line at the zoo exhibit that keeps you from leaving at your desired time. If your students begin to see how to plan forward and count time backward then they are well on their way to successful time management!


Time Management Lesson Unit


May I Also Suggest Teaching

Time management frequently uses the estimation skill, so consider teaching that BEFORE time management.



You may learn a new idea to two from these Consumer Math Blog Posts:


How I Teach Trip Planning


How I Teach Estimation




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