Recounting Elapsed Time and Other Things

October 11, 2014
Almost a year ago, Robert and I spent a lot of time on finding elapsed time. The easiest way for Robert was to subtract the start time from the end time. He was able, if needed, to change an hour into minutes. He was not able, however, to proceed in similar matter, when the time that passed included 12:00. (And I didn’t know how to teach that.) More general strategy was needed. The strategy that would allow Robert to count elapsed time without pencil and paper.
The first thing to learn was to subtract quickly numbers from 60. 60-27, 60-18, 60-9 and so on.
That would allow Robert to count minutes up to the next hour. For instance, from 10:45 to 11:00
The next step would be to add the remaining minutes. For instance from 11:00 to 11:17.
Thus the elapsed time should be counted as 15 + 17.
That is of course only in a span of one hour. Including longer times would be the next step.
I wrote about our efforts to teach and learn time almost a year ago. Unfortunately, I stopped practicing these skills at home, as learning to count elapsed time was one of the goal on the IEP and it seemed that the teacher used different approach. I found that approach difficult to follow, but didn’t want to confuse Robert with our ways of counting passed time, so I switch to teaching other things.
Yesterday, I noticed that Robert still was not able to count elapsed time even when it was only from 10:55 to 11:05.
So back we went to subtracting numbers from 60 in his head. Although it went smoothly, I didn’t dare to make the next step. YET
In the past, Robert was able to rely on ability to find the difference between 60 and other number to tell the time in the form of expressions” 12 minutes to 7 or 25 minutes to seven. Now, he has difficulties with such statements. It is not surprising. Nobody, and that includes me, asks him to tell time so he has never had an opportunity to use the skill.

October 12, 2014
I made a serious error in teaching Robert subtracting from 60. Yes, Robert performed the operations in his head, but WHILE looking at the written problem. He had, for instance 60-27 in front of him. With the help of that visible expression Robert counted in his head by first subtracting 20 then 7. Only today, I realized that I should help Robert to do similar operations without written representation, just by giving him verbal direction. It is important that he learns to visualize the problem and solve it in two planned steps. And that is what we began doing today.

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