Team Turner Time! {Promoting Positive Behavior with Elapsed Time}

Over the years, I’ve used many different management techniques in my classroom. Some worked wonders and others…..others did not. But there is one piece of my management repertoire that has remained the same since my very first day of teaching. 

As a way to reward teamwork, promote classroom community, and provide whole-class incentives, I use a system I call “Team Turner Time”. (Side note: I LOVE alliteration.) I use it the same way many teachers use a marble jar or other group behavior incentive. 
We have a class clock – I started out with a big Judy clock but upgraded to a fancy-schmancy Lakeshore clock my second year. We start the clock at 12 am. The basic goal is to earn 12 hours on the class clock in order to receive a prize. Every afternoon, after lunch and recess, we have our team meeting. This is when we discuss the time we have earned so far that day. 
The kids love it so much, that they don’t even notice that they are working on elapsed time – HA! Win-win. One of the fourth grade teachers once told me that she can always tell who was in my classroom by who can solve elapsed time problems the quickest. 🙂
One of the beauties of this system is its adaptability – you could structure it in so many ways to fit your own needs. I’ll share the ways my students can earn time and the number of minutes I add for certain things. 

How do we earn time on the clock? Here are a few ways:

The above ways are consistent every day, and we add that time at our team meting. However, I will also add time throughout the day if I am amazed by various types of awesomeness. Great teamwork during centers, critical thinking during literacy, stellar problem solving during math, are all ways to add additional time to the clock. 
As any good teacher will attest, she who giveth can also taketh away. Indeed, this is one clock that CAN move counter-clockwise if the need arises. I try to keep it positive, but I use the time system to provide both rewards and consequences at the whole-group level. 
Once the class reaches 12 pm (12 hours earned), I let them brainstorm prizes and vote. Past picks have included pajama day, movie, extra recess, extra P.E. time, and show and tell. 
Other little things we do every day: What kind of angle are the clock hands making? (Right, acute, or obtuse) What fraction of an hour did we earn today? Can the time stand for a date? (7:15 could be July 15th)
It is SOOOOO easy and so effective. I LOVE that I have time set aside each day to not only reflect on our progress as a team, but also to reinforce elapsed time and clock-reading skills. It’s a great way to squeeze in a ton of math vocabulary and it really pays off in that regard. 
How do you reward great behavior at the class level?
If you are looking for more ways to reinforce time concepts, click the pictures to check out some resources in my TpT shop:



  1. says

    Love this!! Saving for next year!

    (P.S. I’m not so great at following blogs using Blog Lovin, but I always read email updates.. Have you considered enabling that option on your blog? I don’t want to miss any more posts. 🙂 )

  2. says

    I also follow blogs only by email. I’d love it if you would make that an option here! I’m sure you’re going to have some great posts (like this one), and I don’t want to miss them.

    • says

      That’s the way I did it, but you could definitely adapt it if you wanted to! Maybe do different “levels” – so if 100% of the class is on time, that could be 10 minutes, but if all but 1 or 2 are on time, 5 minutes?

  3. says

    Do you add the time to the clock right away when the situation happens (ex: everyone turns in homework) or do you wait until your meeting to add to the clock? Also, do you write your minutes down somewhere or do u just use the clock to keep track? Thanks!

  4. Tyrel says

    This is such an awesome idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be using this with my third-graders next year.


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